April 19th, 2024

Ag-Expo kicks off in new venue

By Lethbridge Herald on February 27, 2024.

Exhibitors at Ag-Expo 2024 wait for visitors to arrive at their booths shortly after doors opened Tuesday morning at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Hundreds of exhibitors were ready to showcase their goods once the doors opened to kick off Ag-Expo 2024 at the Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre Tuesday morning. 

Senior advisor to the show operations, Dave Fiddler said organizers were really excited to be in the new Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre as it provided a bright spacious place for the event. 

“There are around 300 exhibitors that are here for all three days. We sold out the show months ago, we’ve got a waiting list wanted to get in, so even though it’s a beautiful big building, it’s already not big enough,” said Fiddler.

He said the event is business-focused where farmers can stop by and do business, buy products and services to become more profitable, but also gives them an opportunity to socialize and create connections. 

“They can sit and have a beer, we have a band playing in the lobby every afternoon, so lots of fun and lots of business to get done,” said Fiddler. 

He said events like this are very important not only to the exhibitors to show case their products, but also for farmers to learn about the newest technology they can use. 

“Agriculture is a very high-tech business, there are computers, auto-steer and autonomous equipment, so it’s changing. People are using drones to check their crops, they’re not walking their crops so much anymore,” said Fiddler. 

He said Ag-Expo provides farmers an opportunity to not only explore the latest and newest technology while on display and learn about it, but also gives opportunities to learn about different grazing techniques to maximize efficiencies on ranches among other things through seminars that are available on site. 

When it comes to being able to host Ag-Expo 2024 at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre, director of community engagement for Lethbridge and District Exhibition, Paul Kingsmith said it is great to be able to offer the space to have not only exhibitors but also equipment together under one roof. 

“It’s an incredible process to watch and to see that these machines are able to come right into this venue, it is really a testament of what it’s able to do and how we can use this space to benefit the community,” said Kingsmith. 

He said being able to have equipment and machinery indoors revolutionized they are able to run the show, as in the past they had to host them outdoors and most of the time the weather was not the best. Also, this way they are able to utilize the parking lot area to provide visitors access to the event, which in the past was taken over by machinery. 

“This building was built with that in mind, we wanted farm equipment in here and to be able to roll it in and then have the manufacturers and distributors be able to showcase in this environment was great,” said Kingsmith. 

 Long-time supporter of Ag-Expo, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) business development manager Jordan Mulholland said they were very excited to be supporting the event once again, and to be in the new building. 

“It’s always fun to come and see the new technology and the equipment. For us this is a big opportunity to come and connect with partners and industry, to collaborate and also to learn what’s new in the Ag industry and what’s coming in the future,” said Mulholland. 

He said he was in Lethbridge to attend the show, as FCC has connections all over southern Alberta. 

On this topic, when talking about hosting people from other parts of the region and beyond, Kingsmith added  the event is helping the community as whole by helping the local economy. 

“We’re bringing in people from across Western Canada, from Montana into Alberta, and they’re eating at restaurants and then filling up hotel rooms. There’s really a community element to what we do here,” said Kingsmith. 

He said they are expecting anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 visitors to the event over the three days.

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Southern Albertan

The biggest problem with AG Expo is the lack of parking space. And, only
15,000 to 20,000 visitors? How will a drought/lack of water affect all of these exhibitors and attendees?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x