One of Canada’s premiere indoor and outdoor agricultural equipment expositions has taken over Red Deer’s Westerner Park.
Agri-Trade 2017, a joint venture between Westerner Park, the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) as presenting sponsors, began Wednesday and runs until Saturday.
Agri-Trade generates millions of dollars in economic impact throughout central Alberta and showcases the latest in equipment, technology, services and products in the Agriculture Industry.
2017 Agri-Trade Show Manager Dave Fiddler says there are 450 exhibitors this year with over 475 exhibits, attracting local farmers along with some from as far away as Manitoba, Montana, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
“Many of the companies have either a new product line or a new innovation to an existing machine,” says Fiddler. “Then we also have our Ag Innovation Awards winners. We have a competition we run amongst Agricultural manufacturers where they submit early in the summer, their applications for the new products that they’re introducing and then we have a panel of farmer judges that select the top-three Ag Innovations and they’re given a $1,500 contribution to the charity of their choice by the show and their sponsors who honour that.”
Fiddler points out that Agri-Trade is seeing a record number of sponsors supporting the show in a number of ways this year.
“It’s after harvest, farmers either have grain in the bin or money in the bank or they’ve sold their calves or they know what they’ve got to spend,” explains Fiddler. “This is the first show that kicks-off the new planting season, so for 2018, this is where they’re making their decisions. They’re making decisions about the chemicals they’re going to use, the seed they’re going to put in the ground and the equipment they’re going to use to do it” continued Fiddler.
He says 2017 has been a remarkably good year.
“Rainfall wasn’t what it had been the year before, but there was good reserve moisture that carried the crop this year,” explains Fiddler. “From the farmers I’ve talked to, yields were above average and quality was excellent. The outlook for 2018 will totally be dependent on snowfall and spring rains and moisture that we achieve there.”
Westerner Park CEO and General Manager Ben Antifaiff says their partnership with the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce allows for the creation of a great show that attracts a lot of people to our region.
“From speaking with a number of the exhibitors, they had a fabulous day yesterday, quite a bit of sales made and are looking forward to a strong show this year,” explains Antifaiff. “It’s also a platform for learning and for us at Westerner Park, one of the things that we think are important for our mandate, is bridging that rural-urban gap and Agri-Trade is another forum to do that.”
Antifaiff encourages rural and urban folks alike to head down to Westerner Park and learn all about the innovation and precision management systems producers are using to be quicker and more cost-effective. “It has a benefit to all and it’s worthy of coming down and learning about it.”
As for the future, Antifaiff sees Agri-Trade growing in the coming years.
“We hope to see some new innovation in the show, expanding the footprint in the future, offering more education,” adds Antifaiff. “We also have some interesting options where we may be able to partner with another organization to do some demonstration work at a different time of the year that would augment Agri-Trade very nicely and again improve the visibility and the importance of agriculture in our community.”
Antifaiff anticipates between 25,000-28,000 people to attend this year's show, adding that Day 1 attendance on Wednesday was up over 41 per cent from Opening Day 2016.
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