June 14th, 2024

Ag-Expo a one stop shop for both farmers and vendors

By Cal Braid - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 3, 2023.

Herald photo by Cal Braid Agricultural businesses and manufacturers went all out with a variety of eye-catching displays as Ag-Expo wrapped on Thursday.

The 2023 Ag-Expo at Exhibition Park wrapped up on Thursday and there was a lot to take in.

The event was spread throughout the pavilions and looked like a high-end shopping mall for farmers. Agricultural businesses and manufacturers went all out with a variety of eye-catching displays and high-tech dazzle. The exhibits advertised farm equipment, outbuildings, irrigation, drones, seeds, fertilizer, livestock nutrition, pesticides, veterinary health, wind screens, industrial scales, and other services and supplies.

Show director Dave Fiddler works at Horizon Consulting out of Saskatchewan, and manages trade shows throughout western Canada. He explained how the show operates to serve the sales goals of a variety of vendors.

“Some booths measure the success of the show based on sales done at the show or within a short period after. Others are here more just for general awareness;for example manufacturers who don’t sell directly to farmers. They’re here to show their products and direct (the customer) to their dealer network.

“So for example, if someone came here from Maple Creek, Sask. and they’re looking at a Meridian Manufacturing grain bin or grain auger, they’re probably going to direct them back to South Country Co-Op or the Flaman dealership back in their territory where they live and say, ‘This is where you can buy these products.’ Yet we’ve got other ones, for example Thunderstruck Sales and Marketing out of Manitoba, and they sell direct to the show. So their goal is to sell as much as they can at the show.”

Fiddler said not all the sales happen at the show. Dealers also get leads and might make a sale six months from now as a result of being at the show. It’s hard to measure the immediate value of a company’s presence at the show, but Fiddler said, “the response I’m getting from exhibitors here is that they’ve really had strong interest and strong sales. It seems like the ag economy is doing well. Probably, the war in Ukraine has impacted an increase in commodity prices, so that’s going to provide some buoyancy to the sector for some time, I would think.”

One exhibitor told him, “I can’t afford not to be there, because if I’m not there my competition’s going to take my place.”

“This show was pure ag,” Fiddler said. “There’s no pots and pans, there’s no Sham-Wows. Not that there’s any problem with having them at a show, and quite often at the shows we manage we do encourage that, but we segregate them and have them in their own hall. We try to keep the show a purely business show, so that’s why farmers are coming here. Sure it’s a social outing too, but they come here to do business. Farming’s all about profit, and finding the best way to reduce your expenses and increase your revenue is why they come to the show.”

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