April 19th, 2024

Ag-Expo to debut in new Agri-food Hub

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 24, 2024.

Herald file photo Exhibitors fill the floor in one of the pavilions during last year's Ag-Expo.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

For decades, Ag-Expo has been an integral element of the Lethbridge and District Exhibition.

For the first time it will be staged at the new Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre running from Tuesday throught Thursday this coming week.

The history of the event goes back to the earliest days of the Exhibition, a Lethbridge institution for 126 years.

And now just as the Exhibition has evolved, so has this sold-out agriculture trade fair as it debuts inside the new facility which has a total of 104,000 square feet of trade hall space. The convention centre in the hub has a total of 13,000 sq. ft. while the meeting centre has up to 4,000 sq. ft.

In total, the Exhibition says here will be “over 268,000 square feet of companies changing the game for agriculture.”

Running from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. day, Ag Expo “provides visitors with a captivating glimpse into the industry that beats at the heart of Southern Alberta,” says the Exhibition on its website.

Running with Ag-Expo will be the North American Seed Fair which will showcase more than 25 classes and will be displayed in the salons. This seed fair is one of the oldest in western Canada.

Ag-Expo is an opportunity for those involved in the agriculture industry to “learn about all options for their operations’ while seeing the newest farm equipment and industry technology.

Dave Fiddler, of Swift Current, Sask., who is the executive producer of Ag-Expo, is optimistic the event will once again be a huge attraction.

With commodity prices high, Fiddler expects the show to attract good crowds. A similar event in Red Deer in November had record-breaking sales.

And Fiddler noted that despite COVID-19, agriculture exports from Alberta grew during the pandemic.

New technology is an important part of the show, said Fiddler, with producers wanting to keep up.

The Expo, he said, “is designed to make farmers more profitable and sustainable.”

Among technology increasingly being used is satellite imagery and GPS to maximize efficiencies and reduce overlap. New spraying technology, he said, can identify weeds.

Drones are also increasingly being used by producers, including for tracking animals in pastures.

The show is a unique opportunity for those involved in the agriculture industry,” he added.

From irrigation equipment to seeds and farm equipment, producers will be able to find everything they need under one roof at the show.

In addition to exhibits, visitors will be able to check out a four-part speaker series in the Lakeview salon on Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. called “AdvancedAG – Grow Better with Biology.”

This session will inform guests how properly integrating biologicals can impact soil health, fertilizer efficiency and sustainable crop production. It will show the impacts of biological products and how they can be managed to optimize sustainable crop production.

On Feb. 29 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. the ‘thinkAG” career fair will let students in Grades 9-12 to be part of a one-of-a-kind career experience.

“Students will have the chance to listen to a line-up of agriculture professionals active in the field, participate in a Q and A session, and visit the Ag Expo showroom floor,” says a synopsis.

Exhibitors include dozens of different companies with different focuses.

Admission is $18 in advance until Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. and $20 during the show. Admission is free to southern Alberta agriculture students and 4-H members and youth 11 years old and under.

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