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This article was published 22/1/2015 (2066 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For those in the agricultural industry, attending Manitoba Ag Days is a must. And while being seen by potential customers is certainly a goal for many of the exhibitors, there’s a lot more to it than that.
The largest indoor ag show in Canada kicked off on Tuesday at the Keystone Centre with 500-plus exhibitors.
Al Martin, partner and day-to-day manager for Wheat City Seeds, said they’ve been coming to Ag Days for five years.
He said they are fortunate because they have a local advantage, but it is definitely the place to be to get in contact with a large number of people in a short amount of time.
"It’s certainly the kickoff to the ag year. After the Christmas break, people want to get to the business at hand," he said. "It certainly is a good show for that. It allows producers to see a lot of things and for exhibitors to make a lot of contacts."
With a show that has been in existence for 38 years, many exhibitors will agree that doing business at Manitoba Ag Days is still just as important as it was in the beginning.
"It has grown so much. I can remember when it used to be called Weed Days," said Jon Bagley, owner of Westman Aerial Spraying. "It’s amazing; it’s a big feather in Brandon’s hat. It brings a lot of money into town and kudos to the Ag Days committee for expanding it to what it is. It’s one of the premier, free ag shows in Western Canada."
Bagley has been in business for 25 years and involved with Ag Days for almost the same amount of time. He sees it as an opportunity to meet with his customers and to promote the changes and growth of his business.
"I also see a lot of my colleagues in the aerial spraying business and a lot of my suppliers. It’s a great networking opportunity on all sides of the coin," he said.
While Ag Days is a three-day show that draws close to 40,000 people, much of the planning begins months beforehand.
Brad Tarr, vice-president of sales and marketing at Mazergroup, said it takes months of planning and many days before the show to get set up. And while showcasing new equipment and educating producers is a priority, there’s much more to be gained.
"You get a feel for the state of the industry and what everyone is feeling about the industry," he said.
"It’s really a good place for us to listen to the producer and understand what their thinking is and how they feel about the economy and the industry."
Greg Setter, of Setter Manufacturing out of Russell, uses Ag Days as a way to feature new products that his company is bringing to market in Manitoba and North America.
This year, the local manufacturing company is showcasing the Drylobag system, which is a poly grain bag with airport pipes, as part of the New Product competition. The new poly grain bag, invented and patented in South Africa, will aerate, dry and cool grain more efficiently than a standard grain bin using a computerized electronic aeration control system.
There were 10 companies with 14 entries that competed for the best new product award at this year’s show.
Manitoba Ag Days wraps up today.
» Brandon Sun
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