Farm show celebrates 40th anniversary

They say 40 is the new 30, and if that’s true, Canada’s Farm Progress Show is still far from entering middle age.

However, the annual Regina event, which started as the Western Canada Farm Progress Show, is indeed celebrating its 40th year next week.

“It’s exciting and scary turning 40, isn’t it,” said show manager Shirley Janeczko. “It takes you into a whole other era.”

Organizers plan to celebrate the past and look to the future June 21-23 through theme days that recognize everyone involved in agriculture.

The first day will celebrate women. All women attending the show will receive 40 percent off their gate admission.

The signature event of the day is the Empowering Women conference, led by keynote Rachel Mielke of Hillberg & Berk jewelery and featuring former Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association president Deb Button, past SaskCanola chair Joan Heath and former BayerCropScience director of product supply Dianna Emperingham.

“We have 200 tickets available and we’re very near to be selling that out,” Janeczko said June 8.

Organizers wanted to keep the conference manageable because it’s just the first year, but she said the response indicates the show will have to accommodate more women next year.

Janeczko said a survey last year indicated that many of the women attending the show were agricultural decision-makers and the conference is designed to build networks.

Mielke has created a signature piece for the show, and limited quantities will be available for sale.

The jewelery includes a ruby sparkle ball to reflect the 40th anniversary and a cultured pearl to reflect the beauty and strength of women, Janeczko said.

Day two is young farmers’ day, when all farmers younger than 40, regardless of gender, receive the 40 percent admission discount.

Saskatchewan’s Outstanding Young Farmer will be named at a luncheon, which is a change from the usual Friday announcement.

And Friday will be Heritage Day, when visitors older than 40 get the discount. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast in the Brandt Centre, which is included in gate admission.

A Friday highlight will be tours of new Mosaic Stadium, which now looms over the Evraz Place grounds, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The tours will likely be 30 to 40 minutes per group, Janeczko said.

“It’s going to be pretty exciting at the show this year to be offering a sneak peek of the stadium to all of our rural customers who don’t always get into town for a concert or a game,” she said.

The Empowering Women conference and the OYF lunch will be at the new stadium.

The show will feature 14 new innovations, plus a new feature called Farmyard Inventions, both in Hall 12. Janeczko said there are three entries in the inventions competition for a $5,000 gift card from Peavey Mart.

She said the event was designed to allow farmers to showcase things they created in their own backyard. It could be as simple as tweaking a tool, she said.

“For our innovations we have quite a strict judging criteria and for the farmyard inventions we didn’t have any at all,” she said.

“Our committee got to review them to ensure that they were suitable to be presented to the public.”

The show also hosts its popular forum of speakers on a variety of topics. The keynote this year is Rick Mercer, who will recognize Canada’s 150th birthday.

Janeczko said all but one in the lineup of speakers is Canadian, which was important to organizers.

Visitors can expect to find anniversary cake throughout the show.

One thing they won’t see this year is displays inside the new International Trade Centre. Instead, that will debut at Canadian Western Agribition in November.

“That’s seven more arenas (worth of space) that will be added to our footprint in 2018,” Janeczko said.

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