A study for Alberta Agriculture by Brett Oliver-Lyons examined the potential markets for leather from alternative livestock. Here are the key findings:
1. The largest market demand for deer hides is in the United States and China. Current production of deer hides in western Canada is about 30,000. This number is insufficient to supply a value-added manufacturing facility. For example, the State of Michigan produces 300,000 deer hides alone per year.
2. The largest manufacturer of leather goods in the province using alternative livestock is Alberta Boot Company in Calgary. The company has said that there is a potential for deer boots. This company is also looking for somebody to make good quality western style leather belts to include in their stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
3. The global leather market is extremely competitive and very price sensitive. However, there are a number of countries that are interested in green, tanned and finished hides of various species. The country that seems to be most interested in green hides is Mexico, although France and Hong Kong are also potential markets.
4. The largest percentage of global leather goods manufacturing takes place in countries such as Mexico and China. For example, Mexico produces more than 210 million pairs of shoes each year that are exported to over 20 countries. Mr. Oliver-Lyons feels that there is a huge potential for developing markets for Canadian green, tanned and finished hides.