It’s hard to believe it possible to pack more iron and information onto 320 acres of good Saskatchewan farmland, but that’s what organizers of the 2019 Ag in Motion (AIM) farm show are promising as they gear up for the fifth annual show that will be rolling July 16 to 19, just northwest of Saskatoon.
More exhibitors, more field demonstrations, more crop and livestock production and management information, more food, more entertainment. The outdoor farm show that began as a good idea in 2015 and has exceeded all expectations in just five years is expanding in all categories as it prepares to welcome an estimated 35,000 visitors this year to the Ag in Motion site near Langham, about 30 minutes from Saskatoon, along Highway 16.
For a general admission price of $20 per day (free parking included) visitors have unlimited access to kick as many tires as they can over acres of displays of the latest in farm machinery, new technology, crop demonstration plots, livestock demonstrations and just about every farm service imaginable presented by more than 500 exhibitors.
More field demos
While there are seemingly endless stationary exhibits, the real feature of the three-day event is the live field-scale demonstrations, says Rob O’Connor, show director. “Ag in Motion is an opportunity for producers to actually see how equipment works in the field,” says O’Connor. “They not only get a close up look at equipment that can be used in various field operations, they also have the chance to see how it operates in the field and compare performance of machines demonstrated by different manufacturers.”
Field demonstrations in 2019 will include air seeding, field sprayers, fertilizer spreading and tillage systems. And while it is always important to apply conservation farming practices to keep soil in place, when dirt needs to be moved for specific applications the show again for 2019 will also feature earth moving and trenching demonstrations.
Crop diversity showcased
While the colourful rainbow of iron needed to produce crops is always dazzling, the show also features acres of crop plots demonstrating not only the latest varieties of a wide range of western Canadian crops, but also the effects of a wide range of crop production inputs.
One of the new features for 2019, on a nearby 320 acres bought last year for the ever-expanding AIM show, is a site called The Field of Excellence. It is designed as a field-scale applied research farm, which will support field scale plots of various crops and production treatments. It’s not just a showcase of crops for the three days of the show. It is intended to be a full-season research and demonstration site used by industry and crop research crop organizations. Developed and monitored with proper research protocols all crop performance will be monitored from seeding through to harvest, with a report on production results to be available at the 2019 Farm Forum conference being held in Saskatoon in early December.
It’s not just crop
The livestock component of the Ag In Motion farm show is biting off a bigger chunk of the three-day program in 2019 as well. Located on the southwest corner of the main exhibitor site, BMO Livestock Central will feature more demonstrations and more exhibitors for several classes of livestock.
Along with beef cattle, the site will offer demonstrations and information for dairy producers, bison producers and sheep producers. Demonstrations will include cattle handling, fencing, feed preparation and handling, and stock dog demonstrations. Saskatchewan Agriculture’s livestock and forage specialists are organizing a speaker series on a wide range of livestock production and management topics.
For full details on the Ag In Motion attractions and exhibitors visit the show website.
AIM grows up
Exhibitor support along with visitor support has been overwhelming and way ahead of early planning and predictions, says Rob O’Connor, show director.
“Where we are at as we organize our fifth annual show is where we expected to be in 10 years,” says O’Connor during an Ag in Motion media event, held at the show site in mid-May.
Ag In Motion is an event owned by Glacier FarmMedia and is the western counterpart to the long-running Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show held at Woodstock, Ontario, which celebrated 25 years of operation in 2018.
“When we first looked at this site as a location for a farm show there were basically two tree lines on either side of a large field of crop stubble,” says O’Connor, recognizing the time, effort and money that has been invested to develop the 320 acres into the home of what’s known as Western Canada’s Outdoor Farm Expo.
Noting the first AIM launched with 200 exhibitors, O’Connor says it is gratifying that 150 of those have continued to support the event every year since and remain as the core of the more than 500 exhibitors expected in 2019.
“That first year we were still basically a stubble field with a few tents,” he says. “Monsanto was the first company to sign on to establish plots on the site and Versatile was one of the first machinery companies to join with a large machinery display.”
As the show began to take root, Warman Home Centre built the first permanent structure for the 2016 show, followed by the Nutrien Integrity building in 2017. While the Nutrien building is used for exhibits during AIM, it is also used as a training and industry meeting facility at other times of the year and eventually may become a year-round meeting facility.
While many companies have showcased their newest equipment and technology at Ag In Motion, some of the notable product launches over the years included new equipment from Versatile, Morris Industries launching its Quantum air drill, Clean Seed smart seeder, and DOT with its autonomous seeding equipment.
Concert to benefit STARS
While looking at machinery, crop, livestock and farm production exhibits on 320 acres can be a lot of work for show attendees, Ag in Motion (AIM) will again this year feature some entertainment and for a good cause.
A steak dinner and concert, featuring Saskatchewan’s own Hunter Brothers country music recording artists is planned for the evening of Wednesday, July 17 with all proceeds going to support STARS Air Ambulance Service.
The inaugural 2018 fund raising concert was such a great success, raising more than $625,000 for STARS, AIM organizers are hoping for a repeat performance in 2019.
With farm safety being one of the important messages among exhibitors at Ag In Motion, it led to a STARS helicopter flying in for a guest appearance on the last day of the 2015 show, says Rob O’Connor, show manager. That eventually led to Ag in Motion creating a partnership with STARS.
“Ticket sales and an auction on behalf of STARS last year raised $525,000,” says O’Connor. “Those proceeds were topped up by a donation from the Canola Council of Canada for a total donation of $625,000.”
Last year’s event featured a concert and steak dinner for 1,200 attendees. This year AIM has reserved a 4.5-acre site for the concert with 2,000 tickets available.