Farm show more than just about numbers

Farm shows are a barometer of the industry. And, despite the Regina show’s smaller size relative other years, it provided some insights.

Placing the success or failure of a show, such as last week’s Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina, based on farmer turn-out and numbers of exhibitors into perspective is important. As a business or organization, it is important to have the numbers. But based on the type of trade and price year we are having in western Canadian agriculture, and the shrinking numbers of farmers and growing farm size, whatever the official attendance was, the quality of the attendees seemed excellent and reflected some of those realities.

Full disclosure is necessary here. The company that owns and publishes The Western Producer, Glacier Media, also owns and operates the Ag in Motion farm show north of Saskatoon in July and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Ontario in September. And I’m involved in the shows, so I will keep this as objective as I can.

Families with kids are a healthy sign at any farm event. It means that younger generations are involved in the business of farming and weren’t too busy with off-farm jobs to show up and get ideas, if not spend money. There were lots of kids running around in Regina last week. Some of the smaller ones were likely a little scared, because they might not remember seeing heavy rain before. And a lot of it fell during the three-day event.

While rain did drive many attendees indoors during the show, and this might not have been good for out-of-doors exhibitors, the booths inside remained reasonably busy.

Speaking to exhibitors, several said they were staying busy with inquiries from commercial-scale farms.

A sprayer-system company owner from Iowa that I have known for years said his booth was busy and said producers were seeking him out.

“Not very many tire-kickers. It was a good quality of farmers coming by. Shows up here (Canada) tend to be that way. Serious farmers wanted to talk about our equipment,” said Doug Applegate of Praxydin.

“I don’t need a lot of farmers for a successful show. Just the right ones, and they’re here.”

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