Central North American Trade Corridor Association

The Pathway to Progress

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  • 09 Jul 2018 3:18 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Weyburn, known to many as the Opportunity City, is the fastest growing community in the southeast Region and was named the best place to live on the Prairies by Money Sense Magazine in 2017. Whether you are in town for a day, the weekend or longer, we invite you to explore our rich history or treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of our restaurants. While you are here, explore our beautiful parks and trails where nature is abundant. At the end of your day unwind and relax at one of our brand name hotels. 

    We are a busy city, and we love to get out and play. Weyburn’s picturesque Tatagwa trail system and parks are an ideal place to walk your dog, go for a run, ride your bike, or boost your happiness by simply observing nature’s beauty. Kayak along the Souris River, or take a short drive to Nickle Lake or Main Prize Regional Park, both known as fishing “hot spots” in southeast Saskatchewan. Weyburn’s 18-hole golf course frames your next perfect shot with the spectacular background of the prairie sky. Create new experiences at the Soo Line Historical Museum featuring the world’s largest private silver collection and artifacts from the Souris Valley Mental Hospital. Visit art galleries, and see what Weyburn’s vibrant arts scene has to offer. The Ally Griffin art gallery showcases original local paintings, pottery, jewelry, metalwork and much more. Take in the symphony, stage productions, concerts or a night on the town with live music. 

    Don’t miss some of our annual events such as Movie in the Parkon August 10, pARTy on the Hillon August 11, and Flavours of Fall on October 6. Or come see The Great Benjamins Circuson August 19!

    So, what are you waiting for? Check out our calendar of events at to start making plans for YOUR stay. 

    Show us how you play in Weyburn by tagging your photos on Instagram with #weyburntourism. 

  • 30 Mar 2018 3:13 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Agricultural industries within the Central North American Trade Corridor region have developed real fear about their economic future due to the current administration’s threat to drop the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Recent history has proven this type of agreement is key to the current and future wellbeing of this region’s agricultural core. Here’s why: Central and northern high plains agricultural producers gain access to export markets that in most instances provide outlets for as much as 85% of their current crop production.

    The impact on North American agricultural productivity and profitability afforded by access to regional and global markets is real. In the past year, Mexico alone bought $2.6 billion in U.S. corn, $1.5 billion in soybeans, $2.4 billion in beef and pork, $1.2 billion in dairy products, and another $1 billion for other prepared foods. And in 2016, Canada imported $23 billion in U.S. agricultural goods while exporting $22 billion of such products to the U.S. in return.

    The impact associated with rejection of NAFTA, as well as other trade agreements, will be dramatic, hammering and possibly destroying major domestic livestock and grain producer cohorts. For example, at the time NAFTA originated, U.S. exports to Mexico amounted to approximately $8.3 billion. Now we are at $38 billion. Further, since NAFTA was implemented, the North American agricultural sector has become increasingly integrated, enabling it to become a trusted agricultural product supplier internationally. The ability of producers in all three countries to coordinate, collaborate, and create agricultural production and ensuing products has also made North America a competitive force internationally. If NAFTA melts, other trade agreements will collapse, and such collapse will be catastrophic for the middle class in all three nations.

    NAFTA negotiations have recently taken a decided turn for the worse, including voiced rejection of NAFTA by the U.S. President. The Central North American Trade Corridor Association now feels compelled to add its voice to that of others across North America’s industrial and agricultural sectors who are calling for a renewed agreement.

    We encourage our respective trade delegations to advance toward trilateral collaboration by taking the following approach:

    • Modernize NAFTA’s trade chapters to minimize harm to agricultural and food/fiber/biofuel processing industries and to harness emerging science-based decision making. These industries are typically located in rural convenience centers that contribute to local and regional prosperity and need certainty to invest for the long term. Millions of jobs and investment in local economies are currently at stake.
    • Enhance and formulate additional mechanisms for State, Provincial, and Prefecture input into respective national Consultative Committees on Agriculture, thereby ensuring that local and regional input undergirds fundamental understanding of trade issues and their impacts. Such enhancement must include re-vitalization of both the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council and the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council.
    • Modernize the NAFTA chapters pertaining to Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary provisions. These provisions are essential to ensuring that agricultural products such as livestock, plants, and seed that flow towards and between the three borders preserve the disease-free status of agricultural production within each of the three economies.
    • Modernize the NAFTA chapter pertaining to Technical Barriers to Trade so that science-based decisions and transparency contribute to timely bilateral communication and cooperation. This chapter must contain language pertaining to improved regulatory alignment across all three economies.
    • Strengthen Chapter 19 of NAFTA to improve and modernize its dispute resolution process.
    • Develop new NAFTA chapters pertaining to improvement of efficient cross-border flows of goods, digital trade, data security, and ‘country of-origin’ issues.

    The economic stakes for all agricultural producers, processors, and equipment manufacturers within the three nations could not be higher. Ninety percent of their potential agricultural customers live beyond their borders, and the diverse sector entails more than 30 million jobs. This industry is the single largest national manufacturing sector representing at least 12 to 17 percent of all manufacturing jobs within each economy. At least $550 billion in annual economic activity is at risk. Walking away is not an option.

  • 29 Mar 2018 4:47 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Thank you for taking time to visit the CNATCA website!  We are actively searching for stories from communities and businesses throughout the corridor about innovations and perspectives that address sustainability of our rural corner of the world.  I invite you to take a picture of your downtown and tell us a story about some of the challenges you are identifying and ideas or experiences in addressing them. 

    Two of our favorite topics, trade and transportation, have been in the news and keep us in a familiar spot, waiting.  NAFTA negotiations, to the extent we get any information, are either going well or are on the verge of collapse.  Autonomous vehicles are either already on the road making deliveries and operational or are on hold and prohibited until further developments.  So we find ourselves waiting, but in anticipation that both produce useful results.

    The CNATCA Board is deeply concerned about potential impacts to the corridor communities arising from NAFTA negotiations.  Like many of you, we are caught in the backwater of silence as we wait to hear what if any changes are adopted.  We are hopeful that free trade will continue across our borders and that new opportunities arise that can be actualized on a rural community level.  The CNATCA Board has committed to creating a series of forums for corridor communities and businesses to learn and exchange ideas on the eventual NAFTA agreement.  Look for us to publish some commentary as the process develops.  We are in the final stages of presenting our first op-ed piece on this subject and we hope to serve a useful role in connecting corridor constituents to accurate and useful information.

    Our long-standing interest in the implementation of autonomous vehicles and technology to improve rural community access to markets is as strong as ever.  Recent events in the media make it clear that there are still a few bugs in the system—in this case, the type of bugs that have the potential to injure and even kill people—at least in vehicles operating on public streets.  However, there is a committed level of investment and development from numerous companies in this technology that will achieve some level of commercial viability—and significantly improved safety—in the foreseeable future. 

    When it comes to technology, there is no better way to stay informed than to hear from the experts.  CNATCA and the City of Estevan invite you to join us at the Trade, Transportation and Technology Conference on April 26, 2018.  This event will take place at the Southeast College in Estevan, SK, Canada.  Mayor Roy Ludwig and Economic Development Coordinator Dwight Fitz Bramble have organized a terrific lineup of thought leaders and innovators in technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics.  For more information and to register follow this link:  Trade, Transportation and Technology

    We hope to see you there.

    -Ron Hall

    US Director: Chairman

  • 15 Mar 2018 4:18 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    How long have you been involved with CNATCA?

    I have been involved with CNATCA since 2015.

    Tell us a bit about your personal background. Where were you raised? (Education, Family, Career)

    I was raised on a farm east of Lampman, Saskatchewan; it was a mixed grain and cattle operation. I graduated from Lampman High School and then went on to various jobs in addition to helping out on the family farm.  In 1976 I started my employment with the M & S Coal Company. I have been happily employed to this day.  I met an Estevan girl and we married in 1980, and I am proud to say she is still my wife. We have had the privilege of having 3 children, and currently we have 5 grandchildren. My oldest son and daughter are both married with families of their own, and my youngest is still single.  

    In 1994 I ran and was elected for Estevan City Council as Councillor.  I have had the privilege of serving 6 consecutive terms on Council.  In 2012 I was elected Mayor for a 4-year term and in 2016 was re-elected for another 4-year term. 

    In September of 1999 I obtained my Labour Relation Certificate  from Athabasca University.  In 2012 I was awarded the Queen Diamond Jubilee Metal for Service to Community.

    I have enjoyed being a part of CNATCA and all that it brings, the best being the great fellowship with the my fellow Canadians and some great Americans.

    I look forward to continuing in that roll, and I am excited for our upcoming conference in Estevan where we can get together and enjoy some great fellowship and exchange ideas on innovative technologies. 

    Describe one of your current projects that you are excited about and how it relates to CNATCA.

    I am very excited about our upcoming conference.  Dwight Bramble, our Economic Developemnt Officer, has done a lot of ground work, and all other board members and staff of the City of Estevan have made this conference a reality.

    How can CNATCA support the sustainability of communities in your area—particularly rural communities?

    We can continue to support the sustainability of our surrounding communities through innovation and positive technological  change.  We are continuing to grow in this area along with the Mayor of Weyburn, who recently put his name forward as a member of the CNATCA board.

    CNATCA has a very ambitious agenda: to be the conduit that brings trade, development, and commerce to the Central North American Trade Corridor. To accomplish that mission, what do you think CNATCA should be focused on over the next 5 years?

    We have to continue to get involved in the issues of the day, such as continuing to foster the free trade agreement between our two great countries as well as Mexico. We also have to continue to be a conduit of change--especially artificial intelligence, technological change, and a lot of the other new innovations that are coming down the pipe.

  • 29 Sep 2017 2:58 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Nestled in the Canadian prairies, Saskatchewan is blessed with natural resources. Saskatchewan’s pioneers were the first to discover this great potential. Today, the province exports about 70% of what it produces to countries around the world.  When your economy depends on trade, you need effective solutions to move products to markets. That is what the Government was thinking when it created the Global Transportation Hub (GTH).

    Continuing Saskatchewan’s proud tradition of ground-breaking trade, the GTH is a logistics hub for the 21st Century. Landlocked from the oceans ports, the GTH operates as an inland port that brings rail and highway transportation solutions together in one location. 

    Specifically designed for organizations in warehousing, distribution, transportation and logistics, as well as light processing and manufacturing, the GTH sells or leases land for these permitted uses. “We took time to listen to the industry and its users. Everything from the property design, roadways, zoning and bylaws has been crafted to help our clients reach domestic and international markets.” 

    The GTH is responsible for the development, maintenance and regulation of the 1,800-acre footprint. Much like a municipality, the GTH is responsible for all aspects of the footprint, from community planning to enforcement.  The GTH is a self-regulating facility – an independent operating entity with its own bylaws and governing structure. Companies exploring development at the GTH deal with a single entity focused on delivering a streamlined, cost-efficient process without multiple layers of government. “We can streamline processes to help clients move quickly through activities such as development plans and permitting,” explains Rhonda Ekstrom, VP Business Development. “This efficiency drives a higher return on investment while guaranteeing that investors are dealing directly with the final decision makers.”

    The GTH is Saskatchewan’s only designated Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), an important advantage for manufacturers interested in the North American market. International companies can access Canada’s duty and tax relief programs by shipping goods to an FTZ, deferring duties and taxes and persevering cash flow until those goods are shipped to market. 
    With CP Rail and Loblaw as its initial cornerstone tenants, the GTH is building a community where freight intensive industries can find natural synergies like sharing containers, transportation and service providers that ensure the smooth movement of goods. Currently, other clients at the GTH include Fastfrate, Emterra Group, SLGA, Morguard, Future Transfer, Slinkemo, Sterling Truck and Trailer, SaskPower and Brightenview Developments. 

    Ekstrom points out each new investment at the GTH has a positive impact for the province. “Each client creates new jobs and stimulates further economic activity.” Currently, more than 860 full-time jobs exist on site (not including hundreds more involved in the construction of the hub and its clients) and that number will continue to rise as the GTH grows. Additionally, the GTH boasts about $485 million in private investment. The GTH is proud to be part of helping the province diversify and grow. 

  • 29 Sep 2017 1:50 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)
    "The purpose of the summit is to promote a safer Highway 52 and potentially four-laning or twinning the highway. As businesses, community leaders, and individuals who use this highway, we thought you would be interested in attending. This is an all inclusive meeting in Kenmare to bring Canada and North Dakota together to further discuss plans and options regarding the two highways.

    Esteemed invitees are Governor Doug Burgum and Lt. Governor Brent Sanford. ND DOT Director Thomas Sorel and Saskatchewan Minister of Highways and Infrastructure David Merit plan to attend."

    Promotional Flyer

    HWY 52-Provincial 39 Summit.pdf

    Summit Agenda

    HWY 52-Provincial 39 Agenda.pdf
  • 15 Sep 2017 2:47 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    In May of 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced formation of a new investment fund for assisting development and growth of small business across rural America. Rural America’s population has grown at the fastest rate of any demographic sector within the nation, hence the need for strategic investments. In its announcement, USDA indicated that it stands ready to help rural communities create jobs and continue to be a place where people want to raise their families, noting that “community-level investments are most successful when partnering with folks [that are] already embedded in the local fabric!”

    The Rural Business Investment Company fund was formed under the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program and licenses funds to invest in enterprises that create economic growth and job opportunities in rural areas. It places a specific emphasis on applications from smaller enterprises. In many instances, agriculture, energy, health care, and infrastructure related businesses will qualify for such assistance and will be able to access core private equity investment via a structured application process.

    The USDA program enables licensed funds to raise equity capital from Farm Credit System banks, private equity investment firms, agricultural cooperatives, and other associations serving rural areas. The funds must demonstrate that they possess venture capital experience and have also worked successfully in the past with community-based economic development organizations.

    To date, the following investments in this new program have been announced:

    • Advantage Capital Partners ($150,000,000 in available revenue) will manage investments in innovative agriculture-related business that support USDA’s strategy for economic growth, including bio-manufacturing, local and regional food systems, advanced farming technologies, and other cutting-edge initiatives. The participating Farm Credit institutions include AgStar Financial Services (Mankato, MN), AgriBank (St. Paul, MN), Capital Farm Credit (Bryan, TX), CoBank (Denver, CO), Farm Credit Services of America (Omaha, Neb), Farm Credit Mid-America ((Louisville, KY), and United Farm Credit Service (Willmar, MN)].
    • McLarty Capital Partners ($100,000,000 in available revenue) will provide flexible financing solutions to small and medium sized rural enterprises who need the funds to achieve strategic business goals.
    • Innova Ag Innovation  Fund IVLP ($31,000,000 in available revenue) will source funds for small and medium sized rural and agricultural entities whose focus is on rural economic development.
    • Meritus Kirchner Ventures ($100,000,000 in available revenue) will source private equity funds to provide grants and loans to manufacturing, agricultural, health care, and energy enterprises that create jobs in rural America.
    • Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is a private equity entity with $100,000,000 in available funds that will source grants and loans to small food enterprises and agricultural industries of small to medium size that are operating within rural areas of the U.S.

    The types of activities supported by these equity funds include business development, venture capital pursuit, attracting other private-sector capital, core product enhancement, marketing, and export market assistance These equity and grant development activities are part of the Made in Rural America initiative launched by the USDA in 2008. Its goal is to help rural businesses and leaders avail themselves of new investment opportunities and thereby also access new markets abroad. Readers can access more information about these economic development activities by accessing individual websites (typically formatted as of for each of the firms identified above, and by visiting .

    Funding Available for Technical Education Capacity Building

    The National Science Foundation recently announced an Advanced Technology Education Grant Program that will fund institutional capacity to deliver cutting-edge technical education programs. Specific parameters must be met to qualify, however rural areas housing disadvantaged populations are specifically targeted. More details are available at Follow the link “new program announcements” and key in ATE Programs in the “search” box located in the upper right-hand corner of the emerging web page. Program detail will follow.

    Funding Available for Economic Development Within Coal Communities

    The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced on 06/17/17 that new funding is available for organizations targeting rural economic development within communities impacted by the changing face of coal use. There is no pre-determined list of impacted communities, so presumably North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming communities could qualify for funding upon submission of a suitable proposal. More details are available at The new program is highlighted on the first page to pop up within the website.   

  • 06 Sep 2017 12:00 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Greetings from the Central North American Trade Corridor Association (CNATCA), and thank you for taking time to read our newsletter and visit our website!  If ever there was a big, huge, glorious idea, creating the Central North American Trade Corridor is one.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chair of CNATCA and join with a dedicated and diverse board of directors to advance this important vision.  It is my hope that by reinvigorating the CNATCA newsletter, we can communicate the issues and needs of the rural communities in the corridor from Canada, through the United States, into Mexico and beyond.  An efficient transportation corridor through the heartland is an essential requirement for economic advancement.  Its absence is an invisible throttle on opportunities that enable people to live and thrive in the small communities they call home or attract new residents.  But there are many steps ahead of us to move the corridor from our hearts and minds into reality. 

    This project is huge in many dimensions, and the process is going to take a lot of dedicated people.  People like Larry White, who graciously agreed to provide his profile for this edition.  We will feature more profiles of the people in CNATCA so you can see the talent and expertise we have assembled.  This project is eventually going to require action and support from corporations and governments, large and small, but we must never forget that our focus is on the people of the corridor.  Larry is an excellent example of the dedicated professionals that are uniquely created by and positioned in the corridor. 

    CNATCA is planning to be a facilitator of dialogue and action on a number of fronts as we maintain our focus on promoting sustainable communities throughout the corridor.  We have formed a Tourism Committee that seeks to enhance collaboration with that important economic sector.  We are planning a symposium in spring of 2018 to focus on the intricacies of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and how communities in the corridor can benefit.  We continue to maintain our engagement with the development of new technologies in transportation, including unmanned autonomous vehicles, drones, and freight.  We are also keeping track of advancements in manufacturing and robotics and their impact on the work force.  All of these issues are present and impactful in the Central North American Trade Corridor.

     I’d like to encourage you to join our ranks.  We need your support and membership to build our coalition across three countries.  At the same time, we need your talent and energy as we address the shifting sands of politics, technology, and economic opportunities.  Become a member today and let’s get to work on building this corridor!

    -Ron Hall

    US Director: Chairman

  • 30 Aug 2017 12:30 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    Weyburn Regional Economic Development and Williston Economic Development share more than a similar acronym, they are driven by the same key industries - being agriculture, oil and gas and light manufacturing.  Both communities mirror the same historic past as well as current cultural diversity.  Being that they are only 200 km apart, they also share the same geographical elements such as climate and recreational opportunities. They are also both located within the Central North American Trade Corridor, separated by an international border.

    In part, due to these similarities, the cities of Weyburn Saskatchewan and Williston North Dakota have entered an informal “Sister City” relationship to promote economic development, tourism, educational, cultural and friendship exchanges between cities.  This relationship will provide both communities with a better understanding of their own community and will facilitate the freedom of exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences.  

    On August 31, representatives from Weyburn Regional Economic Development, City of Weyburn and Southeast College will be attending the 2017 Williston Economic Summit.  Representatives from the City of Weyburn look forward to the valuable networking and learning opportunities associated with this important event.

    Looking into the future, both cities are planning for continued opportunities to learn from each other and well as opportunities to develop strategic partnerships.  Growth and prosperity is a common goal for both communities and collaborating in this unique way will be a key component to success in reaching this goal.

     Submitted by:  Twila Walkeden, Executive Director, Weyburn Regional Economic Development Inc.


  • 28 Aug 2017 3:29 PM | Central North American Trade Corridor Association CNATCA (Administrator)

    How long have you been involved with CNATCA?

    I became involved in CNATCA in 2014. I have been involved in helping with the events and have enjoyed working with the forward-thinking group that is involved in the organization.

    Tell us a bit about your personal background.  Where were you raised?  Education, Family, Career?

    I was raised in southwestern North Dakota, 60 miles straight south of where President Roosevelt ranched in North Dakota at Bowman. The White family homesteaded that part of North Dakota in 1906 and have farmed and ranched there since.  

    My dad, Dale, was a farmer and rancher until his death in 1990, and my mother, JoAnn, was a registered nurse until the loss of her eyesight forced her to quit.

    I was educated at Amor country school, Bowman High School and North Dakota State University. While at NDSU I was an honor student and received the outstanding senior award in the college of Agriculture my senior year.

    I returned to Bowman County to farm and ranch after graduation just as my family always had done. I ranched until 2000, then started a new career working at Paulson Seed, a specialty crop processor in Bowman. I worked my way to marketing manager, and the company exported to about 23 countries while I worked there. I was involved in the first US–Cuban Food and Agribusiness Exhibition in Havana, Cuba in September of 2002. The North Dakota delegation got to meet and personally dine with Fidel Castro. That was the first of my four trips to Cuba to sell peas to Alimport.

    In the fall of 2004, I was offered a job with the North Dakota Dry Pea and Lentil Association as their Marketing Director. Not long after I took the job, the organization merged with Montana and formed the Northern Pulse Growers Association as it is today.

    In the spring of 2007, the North Dakota Trade Office offered me a job as the International Agribusiness Manager, and I had the privilege to travel the world and represent North Dakota companies.

    In July of 2015, I resigned and started LL-International LLC as a private consultant and have continued to find markets for North Dakota products.

    In 2017, Les Paulson and I built a small oilseed crushing plant in Bowman, ND and named it Pulse Oils LLC. We are currently crushing safflower oil, and our product line will be called 17 THISTLES.

    I have been married to my wife, Kathryn, for 37 years. We’re blessed with two children—my son, John, and daughter, Laura.

    Describe your current projects that you are excited about and how they relate to CNATCA.

    My recent work in China has opened my eyes to why infrastructure development must never stop. In the last year, the Chinese have added 80,000km of four-lane roads and 20,000km of high-speed train rail with one goal in mind—to move product more easily. They are also looking at building a road to Europe and one to Bangladesh. As we look at renegotiating the NAFTA trade agreement, the Chinese are positioning themselves to be the leader in trade and development. They are building as we sit and watch and wonder why we cannot find the urgency to go forward in the United States.

    I am working in Mongolia and China as a consultant in beef development and meat imports to China. They are looking to build up the supply of high quality beef in China. The Chinese have built over a thousand slaughterhouses in the last ten years. They are looking to the future needs to sustain 1.5 billion people.

    I also am doing an Emerging Market Program for the USDA in Romania and the Ukraine. The program is an assessment on the need for better genetics in forage and beef production.

    I think producers along the CNATCA corridor can benefit in supplying beef and genetics to China. The meat imports have already started and the live-animal imports will soon follow.

    How can CNATCA support the sustainability of rural communities in your area?

    CNATCA’s goal has to be to help smaller communities and small businesses in rural areas compete in the world trade through more efficient and timely logistics. I also think the networking among members is beneficial to anyone who is looking to export or move product along the corridor.

    CNACTA has a very ambitious agenda, to be the conduit that brings trade, development and commerce to the Central North American Trade Corridor.  To accomplish that mission, what do you think CNATCA should be focused on over the next five years?

    Immediate attention should be on drafting a fair and free NAFTA trade bill that is fair to all three countries without starting a trade war and new tariffs and extra paperwork. Let’s make the corridor autonomous and with a high-speed rail that will be the focal point of future infrastructure development.

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 CNATCA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. Phone or Fax 605.299.2679              

Contact CNATCA:

PO Box 2506
Bismarck, ND 58502-2506


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