Agribition pleased with 2014 profit

Last year the event partnered with organizations to include programs designed to educate Canadians about farming

Strong beef sales helped Canadian Western Agribition post an operating profit of $614,746 last year.

“This number is consistent with the profit that we had in 2013 and highlights the vibrance of our volunteer-driven event going into our 45th year,” chief executive officer Marty Seymour said before the show’s annual general meeting April 10.

Attendance was 122,000 over the six-day show, and 6,000 schoolchildren participated in the Agri-Ed program, he said.

Six thousand visitors packed the Brandt Centre for the first-ever jousting event, and more than 13,000 people used the inaugural park-and-ride service, which was four times more than expected.

“As you know, beef has always been the heart of the show. It runs deep in my blood,” said outgoing president Reed Andrew.

“I’m proud to report the cattle barns experienced many records and sold close to $1.6 million in cattle.”

Even more importantly, he said, youth entries were up 25 percent, which is a reflection of the strong farm economy and bodes well for future shows.

“In my own area, six years ago we didn’t know who would be farming. Now there’s more farmers than land again,” he said.

The show formed strategic partnerships with organizations such as the multicultural society and has included programs designed to educate new Canadians about farming.

Andrew said the show might have originated as a marketplace for Canadian livestock producers but now has an educational responsibility to a society that is far removed from the farm.

For its efforts, the show was honoured recently with a Prime Minister’s Volunteer award for social innovation and as a finalist in the community involvement category of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce Paragon Awards.

The 2015 show, slated for Nov. 23-28, will be the last one to feature the Canadian Cowboys’ Association rodeo finals after a 10-year run.

Seymour said it’s too soon to say what will replace that event, which draws 20,000 people to five performances.

He said rodeo has been part of Agribition since the second show and will continue to do so.

“We haven’t made any commitments to any rodeo,” he said.

“At this point we have to produce this fall’s rodeo.”

Meanwhile, infrastructure continues to be a priority. Agribition has set aside $1 million to help with facility renewal at Evraz Place, which has been discussed for years.

“We’re continuing to work with all three levels of government on a funding solution for the buildings,” Seymour said. “We’re making progress.”

Agribition is a tenant on the grounds and leases facilities for its event, but it has contributed to infrastructure in the past. Recently it made a $600,000 contribution to the Stockmen’s Arena.

Regina has been talking about establishing an international trade centre, and Seymour said it would be a natural investment for Agribition. Eight hundred international visitors from 70 countries attended last year.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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