Bringing the world to our doorstep

Fifty-two countries represented, $500 million in sales reason to celebrate the 39th edition of Canada’s Farm Progress Show. 

By Derek Lothian. 

It is known on the Prairies as the ‘backyard’ showcase for agricultural equipment manufacturers. But outside our own borders, Canada’s Farm Progress Show has become the global destination for the latest in ag technology.

Agbor Ndoma, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Nigeria, is one of more than 700 visitors who traveled to Regina from 52 countries this past June to take in the show. He was the first Nigerian delegate in the event’s 39-year history.

Ndoma came away exceptionally impressed with the volume of Canadian-made innovation, including with IntraGrain Technologies, a local manufacturer of mobile grain storage monitoring systems.

“In Nigeria, it can be terribly hot. Right now, if you put any grain into storage, you should be able to track the temperature and moisture content at the same time,” Ndoma explains. “The technology that I saw [at the show] with IntraGrain is so incredible. I can have the temperature and moisture content right on my phone, anywhere in the world.”

Chris Dekker, president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership, credits the show’s International Business Centre (IBC) with energizing on-site sales. Organizers estimate that exhibitors racked up $500 million in transactions over the three-day period.

“The Farm Progress Show is not only a fantastic showcase for Canada’s innovative agri-equipment manufacturers — it’s big business,” says Dekker. “The IBC brings international buyers and exporters together in one marketplace, and provides a suite of business services to facilitate sales.”

The IBC is manned by professional staff and volunteer subject matter experts, who work around-the-clock to expedite introductions and meetings between buyers, trade delegations, and manufacturers.

Show Manager Shirley Janeczko echoes that sentiment, and says the dichotomy between regional and global buyers is what makes Canada’s Farm Progress Show the ideal stage to introduce new products and technologies.

This year, 17 new innovations were spotlighted, while another three formal product launches were held, helping to drive 41,000 attendees through the show gates.

“The heart of Western Canada is the ag industry, and agriculture is thriving,” says Janeczko. “Speaking to exhibitors, the people coming through the booths were not only qualified, they were buying. The whole economy the way it is, I think that is a good indicator the industry is strong.”

In total, 700 manufacturers, service providers, and support organizations exhibited at the show in 2016 — 81 per cent of which are based in the three Prairie provinces and 14 per cent of which hail from outside the country.

With the show’s 40th anniversary now officially less than one year out, planning is already underway to ensure it is the biggest and best yet. Additional outdoor space will be made available near the soon-to-be-completed Mosaic Stadium, and new pavement will be laid. Then, a year later, in 2018, the 150,000-square-foot International Trade Centre is expected to open its doors to Canada’s Farm Progress Show.

“The demand for more space just keeps growing,” says Janeczko. “And that’s built on reputation. This is where you come to secure the sale.”