The Hutterites are a German speaking religious sect. They live communally, holding “all things common.” This characteristic separates them from the Mennonites and the Amish, with whom they share a common Anabaptist tradition. The Hutterites have resisted assimilation and have maintained their language and culture. The three original colonies, established along the James River in Dakota Territory in 1874, have grown to number some five hundred colonies distributed across five states and four Canadian provinces.
This article describes and evaluates the contribution of Hutterite colonies to agriculture in Alberta, Canada. They own about 4 percent of Alberta’s farmland but produce 80 percent of the province’s eggs, 33 percent of its hogs, and more than 10 percent of its milk. This productivity is based on the Brethren’s ability to deploy their relatively large labor force to carry out diversified mixed farming. Their willingness to embrace modern science and technology is matched by the links they have been able to establish with marketing chains in agribusiness.