Many of the events you and I would be attending this year — crop plot tours, conferences and outdoor farm shows — for the latest production tips, equipment, demonstrations and product launches have been cancelled, and in a few cases rescheduled to a future date yet to be announced. Furthermore, meetings normally held in person have moved online through video conferencing tools, forcing companies, organizations and individuals like me to use technologies we knew were available but were hesitant to use.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt these in-person interactions could not be replaced. Similarly, I thought there was no way video conferencing with friends, family and colleagues could fill the void created by social/physical distancing. I was wrong.
Since the pandemic began, I have taken part in many video calls for work as well as in my personal life. I can honestly say I can still gather information and feel connected to co-workers, friends and family through Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Houseparty and the numerous other apps I’ve been forced to learn and use over the past two months.
At the outset of the pandemic, I was concerned about not being able to attend ag venues in person. I am happy that worry has lessened as many organizations adapt to our new reality and are offering these events online. I’ve also talked to board members of some Canadian ag organizations who say the same thing; they’re moving meetings and events online — and it’s working.
When I became a Glacier FarmMedia (GFM) team member, I was excited to be part of Ag in Motion (AIM). After watching venue after venue being cancelled, I anxiously awaited the fate of the largest agricultural trade show in Western Canada, which normally attracts more than 30,000 guests. Just over a week ago, venue organizers announced the launch of Ag in Motion Discovery Plus.
This summer from July 21-25, AIM will be recreated as a digital event that will provide interactive content from the field. Participants will be given a unique vantage point to experience agriculture equipment and technology. COVID-19 may have stopped us meeting up in person at the GFM Discovery Farm at Langham, Sask., but it’s also given rise to a whole new agricultural experience.
One highlight of AIM Discovery Plus is machinery demonstrations will feature side-by-side comparisons of air seeders and tillage equipment, and one of the hosts will be Grainews’ Travis Warkentin. These videos will illustrate the important aspects of each machine from different angles — with participants granted access like never before.
Highlight videos will introduce you to product details, benefits and machinery features hosted by unbiased, familiar faces — more equipment experts from GFM publications. Similarly, with AIM’s ride and drives, you can get behind the wheel of a high-clearance sprayer or test drive the latest UTV, all while learning about the machinery.
You’ll also discover what’s new in the product pipeline and the benefits of new varieties being offered for 2020 through virtual crop plot tours and information sessions hosted by GFM team members, including me. Time-lapse photography from Metos crop cameras will be available, and exhibitor showcase videos will feature products and services.
AIM’s educational component will focus on sessions around managing your farm in the new normal. Programming will feature panel discussions, webinars and presentations with real-time Q&A sessions. And information generated by the Discovery Farm’s applied research projects will be made available.
Livestock Central will feature TMR mixer demos, livestock handling and other presentations. The Beef Breeds Showcase, which highlights animal genetics, will take ranchers on a herd walk through several different breeds.
The venue is free for farmers — those who have already purchased a ticket will be refunded. To attend this event, register at aginmotion.ca. I am happy to say I will be attending and presenting at AIM, where I hope to virtually meet many of you. See you there!