Pandemic forces Sask. farm show to go digital

Ag in Motion replaces physical event with a series of online video demonstrations, panel discussions and presentations

Ag in Motion, an outdoor farm show held near Saskatoon, will be a digital event this summer.

The normal three-day show format will be altered due to COVID-19, but organizers say the new format can deliver quality information for farmers over five days from July 21 to 25.

Ag in Motion Discovery Plus will be designed to bring free interactive content from the field and give participants a vantage point to see equipment and agricultural technology in action — minus the long walks in the sun and rain, and without parking problems.

“We’re probably going to actually offer more content through this digital portal than we actually had at the live show,” said Rob O’Connor, Ag in Motion show director.

It’ll also be a first that an outdoor farm show has been completely offered in an online format.

“I think this is the first time, definitely in North America if not around the world, that an entire platform is being launched with so many different moving parts,” he said.

The new venue was announced May 7 by Glacier FarmMedia, the company that operates AIM, at its half-section Discovery Farm near Langham, Sask.

Glacier FarmMedia also owns The Western Producer.

The show, entering its sixth year, is the largest outdoor agricultural expo in Canada. More than 30,000 guests and 500 exhibitors took part in last year’s record event.

Ag in Motion Discovery Plus plans to retain the signature features for which the event is known.

A video series will highlight each piece in the popular equipment demonstrations, which feature air seeders and tillage equipment.

“We will do the pass, you will see the impact on the soil, but you’ll also be able to see what this piece of equipment does differently than the others and why it’s important for that company to show that to you,” he said.

Arm chair spectators will also be able to get behind the wheel for virtual driving experiences in high-clearance sprayers and utility terrain vehicles.

All demonstrations are expected to be hosted by an unbiased equipment expert from a FarmMedia publication, so viewers won’t have to listen to excessive sales pitches.

The new format will also feature knowledge-based sessions, livestock information, crop plots, product launches and a large exhibitor show case.

An educational component will feature panel discussions, live webinars and a live question and answer with the presenters.

Prior to cancelling the live event, O’Connor said the exhibitor portion of the show was sold out and organizers are now reaching out to the nearly 600 involved.

Murray Hunter of Hunter Implement Supply in Saskatoon said he’s on board with the new digital format but will miss the meet and greets of previous shows.

“I think it will work. It’s probably going to be more groundwork and planning than actually doing the show for us because it’s different,” he said.

“Will it be successful? I think in its own regards it will be. We’ll just have to wait and see and wait for the aftermath of what worked better. They both in their own right have very strong points and yet are very different.”

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