June 14th, 2024

Ag-Expo marking 70 years of farming innovation

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 2, 2023.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Vendors prepare for the second day of the Ag-Expo and North American Seed Fair, presenting the newest innovations in the agricultural industry for farmers in the region to check out, Wednesday at Lethbridge and District Exhibition Park.

Today is the last day to check out the 2023 Ag-Expo and North American Seed Fair currently on at the Lethbridge and District Exhibition.

This year the Ag-Expo was presented by Farm Credit Canada, showcasing nearly 300 exhibitors. The show brings exhibitors from across the globe to gather in Lethbridge to check out the top products in the industry, improve agricultural production, and learn about the new innovations plowing the competition.

“You will see everything from drones, to robotic milking machines, to precision agriculture planting technology,” Dave Fiddler, show director for the expo, said Wednesday. “Everything about this show is designed and developed to help farmers be more profitable.”

It also provides an opportunity for farmers to try new innovations.

“That’s why farmers come. I was talking to my cousin, he comes from Burstall, Saskatchewan, he said he never misses this show,” said Fiddler. “He farms probably about 16,000-acres, and they are looking at everything they can do here to be more profitable, more efficient, and capture all the latest technology for use on their farm.”

Lethbridge and District Exhibition understands the importance of Lethbridge’s location to the agricultural industry, and looks for ways it can accommodate more growth.

“Expo is a big deal for this organization for over 70 years,” said Mike Warkentin, CEO of Lethbridge and District Exhibition. “It has been a pivotal part of the agricultural community here in southern Alberta, and it is something we are investing in. Ag-Expo continues to grow in demand, and then as we expand next year into the new Agri Food Hub and Trade Centre, we will have expanded space to grow the show and increase the volume of exhibitors in the show, as well as the number of guests that are able to attend.”

Looking toward the future, Warkentin noted the attention put on Lethbridge as a place for agricultural industries to come and invest in.

“The agricultural economy here in southern Alberta is nothing but opportunity. Over the next 10 to 20 years the opportunity for southern Alberta on a global stage only increases.”

With exhibitors from across Canada and the United States, the possibilities present farmers with many options on how they will grow their fields.

“This show provides an opportunity to comparison shop,” said Fidder. “Many of the products here are similar or alike in a lot of ways. (Farmers) can come and make a decision based on the product. Feedback from exhibitors say it’s been on par with day-one of other years. I did have a couple of them say that they already sold more in terms of sale at yesterday’s event than they did in all of last year’s show, so sales are strong.”

That points to Ag-Expo’s ability to present new and innovative technologies in the agricultural industry for continued growth on the farm.

“This is by far the biggest and most important of our calendar year,” Warkentin said. “One, it has been going on for over 70 years, second, it is the true essence of what Lethbridge and District Exhibition is. It is a way to connect that agricultural community and agricultural economy and showcase southern Alberta on a global stage.”

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