Last week I caught a flight to Toronto
to take in Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (outdoorfarmshow.com). Although
the show has been an annual event in southern Ontario for 19 years,
this was my time through the gates to have a look at it.
Getting from Pearson airport out to
Woodstock where the show is held wasn’t a problem, because I was able
to travel around with my friend Ray Bianchi who operates Classic Farm
Photos and lives in Nearby Milton. We teamed up and hit the show
together. But for anyone new to the region, it’s not hard to get to
Woodstock. It’s only about 1 ½ hours by car from the airport.
Just like Canada’s Farm Progress Show
in Regina, most of the exhibits are outdoors, which means you need to
be prepared to do some walking and have the sunscreen handy. But
unlike the Regina show, this one is held in the countryside and that
means there is ample room for show organizers to plan some infield
This year ploughing and dry manure
spreading demos were held each afternoon through the course of the
three-day event. For a prairie boy, seeing ploughs working in the
field was almost a first. It’s a rare event out west. Even though
very few westerners would even consider adding a plough to their
fleet, it was useful to see them in action and get a feel for why
they can—or possibly can’t—typically help with field management
on the prairie.
And while talk of ploughing may cause a
few to dismiss the outdoor show as an event that just appeals to
southern Ontario producers, that isn’t necessarily so. When Doug
Wagner, the show’s president, sat down with me for an interview, he
commented that the show is gaining popularity with farmers from all
across the country.
The reason, he says, is because
organizers strive to seek out a wide range of new ag
technologies and ensure they’re represented at the event. Along with
that, there are now arguably more similarities in regional equipment
demands than there are differences. Wagner believes that even if
visitors from western Canada are inclined to walk past implement
displays featuring ploughs, they’ll still be rewarded with a
first-hand look at machines they do find familiar and useful.
There is also one other benefit to
attending a farm show outside your home region: you find yourself
asking company reps how some of the unfamiliar machines fit into
different farming practices and just what each one can achieve, which
means you start evaluating your own practices from another
perspective. And pretty soon you start to wonder whether or not it’s
possible to do things differently—and better—than you do now.
Even if you come to the conclusion none
of those unfamiliar implements can do the job better than the
machines you use now, analyzing your operation and objectives from a
fresh perspective certainly helps you to better understand your
business. And that can help make you a better farm manager.
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