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As the main driving force behind the company, John Van Hierden first began selling hay from his family farm in the early 1980′s. Being in the business of buying and selling hay, John was shipping alfalfa to dairy farmers on the west coast. The next move was marketing overseas.

There was strong interest from international buyers interested in buying long-fibre hay products such as timothy.

The first shipment of Canadian hay was sent overseas in 1985 on an experimental basis. It proved to be a good move and Green Prairie International became one of the first Canadian companies to ship hay from Canada to Japan.

Selling to Asia meant that careful attention had to be paid to its shipping practices. It didn’t take long to realize that if the hay were to be compressed, the bales would be smaller and more could fit into the shipping containers. The problem was however, that at the time the industry did not have access to the right compressing equipment. Out of necessity, John Van Hierden developed his own equipment.

With the prospects of additional markets, Green Prairie was incorporated in 1988. The company was operating with portable compression equipment, moving from field to field and eventually moved into some leased buildings. Over the years the equipment continued to be improved, and in 1995, Green Prairie International settled into a new 200,000sqf. facility just east of Lethbridge where it continues to operate.

Green Prairie is always innovating the way of harvesting, compressing and transporting hay globally. The latest addition to the company’s equipment is a round bale processing press.

Over the years, Green Prairie International Inc. has seen many changes in the industry and in 2013 it celebrated its 25th anniversary and it will look forward to continued success.


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