This week I was back at the annual Manitoba Ag Days show in Brandon. I’m sure I haven’t missed that event in far more than a decade. It, like a handful of other equipment shows, has become an annual ritual that gets penciled onto my calendar at the start of the year.
Each show I attend has its own unique benefits and qualities that attract me. I wish I could get to more events each year, but I can only be in one place at one time—I’m looking into a way to correct that limitation, but DeLorean DMC-12s with the correct time machine conversion are hard to find. I’ve been keeping an eye on Kijiji, but so far nothing.
And as for hitting the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, next month, I’ve already passed on that opportunity. With the U.S. Government shutdown and the air traffic controllers union declaring they “Cannot even calculate the risk” of flying down there, I’ll stay here in the Great White North and tolerate the Winnipeg weather. Even if all that shutdown nonsense stops in the next week or so, air travel may be messed up for a while if things continue to get worse.
But back here in Manitoba while at Manitoba Ag Days, aside from walking the aisles, I was able to take in a couple of great seminar presentations. And they were free to anyone who wanted to wander in and take a seat. It occurred to me that it’s hard to beat that kind of value. And, of course, Ag Days has no gate admission fee either. It actually is something for nothing, other than the cost of time and fuel to get there.
Organizers at Ag Days usually manage to put some good speakers on the agenda, and this year was no exception. The presentations I sat in on were well attended, particularly the one on farm succession planning, which had an overflow crowd that left many people standing because all seats were full. That tells me it’s a topic on a lot of peoples’ minds these days. And as I scanned the crowd, it was mostly full of people who looked to be of exactly the age where succession planning would be top of mind. In other words, around my age.
Then there was another presentation on leasing equipment versus buying it. That one also had a nearly capacity crowd. And a later presenter discussed how he turned a farmyard invention into a business, and he gave the crowd the benefit of his experience to help anyone avoid the pitfalls of that process.
These days I’ve heard several discussions on the value of farm shows. Some people have suggested they can find out anything they need about equipment or inputs online, so why bother going to shows. Being at Ag Days this week made me think that attitude is wrong. There are so many things to take in at today’s farm shows that cost little or nothing beyond the price of admission, that missing too many of them means missing opportunities to learn ways to stay profitable.
Learning from others in the industry, and hearing directly from them, is priceless management information everyone running a farm should be chasing after. And, of course, getting a chance to sit in the cabs of today’s latest machinery as well as get up close and personal with it is something you just can’t do online.