If you can only get to 10 or 15 conferences or trade shows over the next year, here are the first bunch you should consider. (Fortunately most are structured so you not only learn lots, but bring your credit card and you can also buy a new tractor or a bull — you won’t go home empty-headed or empty-handed.)
Agri-trade Farm Show
Red Deer, Alta. (Nov. 8-11, 2017)
Spend a day or two at the 33 annual Agri-Trade Farm Show at the Westerner Exhibition Grounds in Red Deer, Alta. The show draws nearly 30,000 visitors annually to have a look at displays (indoors and out) provided by some 475 farm equipment manufacturers. Before the show even starts, I know for sure you’ll also find at least one booth selling about 20 different flavours of fudge.
Canadian Forage and Grasslands Assoc. Annual Conference
Guelph, Ont. (Nov. 14-16, 2017)
Travel to Guelph, Ont. for the eighth annual CFGA conference being held at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre. Tuesday Nov. 14 is a pre-conference tour day visiting farms, research facilities, forage equipment manufacturers and more. During the next two days of the conference there are 24 succinct speaker sessions covering a wide range of topics ranging from carbon sequestration to soil and animal health, profitable forage systems and forage export opportunities. For information on the event visit the CFGA websiite or call the conference co-ordinator at 1-613-732-7068.
Canadian Western Agribition
Regina, Sask. (Nov. 20-25, 2017)
And if you ever wondered what a bull (cow or heifer) looks like there will be no shortage on display at the annual Agribition show in Regina. Purebred and commercial beef producers from across Canada will have some of their top animals on display in the barns at Evraz Place. Along with livestock shows and sales, there are also dozens of displays by livestock equipment manufacturers and suppliers. If it involves beef cattle, you will find it there. Learn more at the Agribition website.
Western Canada Soil Health/Grazing Conference
Edmonton, Alta. (Dec. 5-7, 2017)
Aside from hydroponics, nothing grows without at least somewhat-decent soil, so learning how to protect and improve the soil health on your farm is a pretty important matter. The Western Canadian conference coming up at the Radisson Hotel Edmonton South is actually a combined event bringing together what was once the separate soil health conference as well as the Western Canadian Grazing Conference — one topic obviously ties into the other. Many years ago I was informed that soil is not dirt. There are billions of creatures that make up the soil and keeping them healthy benefits soil quality, and has a huge impact on the production of forage and pasture crops that grow out of the soil. There will be about 20 speaker sessions over the two-and-a-half days talking about everything from how to benefit soil health, and grazing practices that benefit both soil and cattle. All great speakers for the event, including Gabe Brown and Jim Gerrish, a couple well-known names of innovators of grazing systems, as well as soil and forage researchers from Canada and the U.S. There will also be producer panel sessions, as well as some time to browse through a trade show of more than two dozen exhibitors. For more information on the conference and registration visit the conference website.
Farming Smarter Conference
Lethbridge, Alta. (Dec. 5-6, 2017)
You may have to make a choice or just be very efficient with your time — while the soil and grazing people are meeting in Edmonton, Farming Smarter (the Southern Alberta applied research association) is also holding its annual conference at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge.
The Farming Smarter event is a great opportunity to be updated on their latest field research projects — dryland corn, soil health, pushing canola yields, crop pests, specialty crops and much more. For more information or registration visit the Farming Smarter website or call 403-317-0022.
Western Canadian Crop Production Show
Saskatoon, Sask. (Jan. 8-11, 2018)
I hate to say that already — 2018 — but yes the new year approaches. Once you get through Christmas make plans to attend the Western Canadian Crop Production Show at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. It is a comprehensive five-day conference and that falls inside the Crop Production Week event which runs Jan. 6 to 13. The events provide a virtual buffet of topics related to crop production practices and products, field equipment, crop inputs and application, commodity marketing, seedbed preparation, straw and chaff management, and grain handling to name a few. If you don’t get a few ideas on how to grow a better crop after this week of speakers and presentations then you weren’t listening. For more information visit the event website and www.cropweek.com.
Alberta Beef Industry Conference
Red Deer, Alta. (Feb. 21-23, 2018)
Back on the beef front, plan to attend the annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel, featuring a leading beef industry specialist — the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. OK, Mr. Harper probably isn’t a beef specialist, but the former Prime Minister is the keynote speaker. He headlines a program that includes speakers with a wide range of knowledge on beef production, market outlooks, farm and agricultural finance and much more. As well there is always an informative trade show area. Mark your calendars and for more information visit the conference website.
Farm Progress Show
Regina, Sask. (June 20-22, 2018)
If you’re missing any piece of farm machinery, plan to attend the annual Farm Progress Show at Evraz Place in Regina. The event features about 700 exhibitors with displays over about 1.9 million square feet. Always lots to see.
Ag In Motion
Near Saskatoon, Sask. (July 17-19, 2018)
This year I am single-handedly organizing and hosting the fourth annual Ag In Motion farm show at Langham, Sask., about 15 minutes north of Saskatoon. The event will feature 1,500 exhibitors demonstrating the latest technology in farm machinery, operating over about 10,000 acres. The event draws about one million visitors each year. Okay, I may have exaggerated slightly on some of that. But the Ag In Motion event is on for July 17 to 19. If you want to see how crops grow and machinery works in the field, this is the place to be. There will be plenty more information on AIM 2018 in the coming weeks. My forecasting service can confirm that it will be warm and sunny and dry July 17 to 19 over Langham.