Now that the Agri-Trade Exposition in Red Deer has wrapped up, the Western Canadian Agribition is kicking off its 40th season in Regina. This year machinery exhibits will play a bigger role in that event according to Jason Pollock, the show’s CEO. New facillites on site at Evraz Place will allow more indoor space for large equipment.
“We have access to the Cooperator’s Centre, so our trade show will be expanded by four hockey rinks over what we had in the past,” he says. “We hope to put more equipment and displays into them. It also gives us the ability to bring in much bigger equipment.” That means the show can now attract a broader range of exhibitors.
Agribition and Agri-Trade are just two of the many opportunities farmers have to actually kick the tires of machinery they are interested in buying, other than at dealerships which now often have only minimal inventories. And if you can do it indoors at this time of the year, that certainly makes it worth the trip to go and look. According to event coordinators, farmers doing so often bring their chequebooks with them, inking deals on the spot.
The trade show part of Agribition, which is geared toward generating those business transactions, has been lucrative for many companies displaying goods and equipment, according to Pollock. “They tell us it makes their year (for sales).”
And the same goes for the other event held at Evraz Place in June, The Western Canada Farm Progress Show (WCFPS). According to a press release, management of that event conducted a study of visitors’ spending habits at this summer’s show; and they estimate transactions involving machinery over $5,000 may have hit the $385 million mark.
Attendance records continue to climb, too. A new single-day record for WCFPS was set in 2009 with more than 17,000 people passing through the gates. That record was broken again this summer when more than 20,000 paid their admission and walked in. In addition, overall attendance grew to a new high at more than 45,000.
With its livestock component, Agribition adds another figure for those who are keeping track. Last year’s auction sales generated $2.2 million. Along with that, buyers from all over the world made several private purchases from livestock exhibitors in the barns. All of which means today’s farm shows are becoming a little like farmers’ markets on steroids.
In the next few months, some of North America’s most prominent farm machinery shows are on the schedule for editors and farm writers, like myself, who’ll be booking plane tickets and hotel rooms in order to take in as many as possible.
But attendance numbers at shows make it clear producers are interested in more than just reading about these events; they want to go themselves. And if they like what they see when they get there, they may just pull out their chequebooks. It’s no wonder machinery companies go through the expense of hauling equipment and displays all around the U.S. and Canada. The good news for organizers of shows like Agribition, Agri-Trade, WCFPS and many others to the south is this: if you hold it, they will come.