After a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-running Saskatchewan-based farm show, now rebranded as Canada’s Farm Show, is back with a packed agenda during a virtual, online two-day event in mid-June.
Formerly known as Canada’s Farm Progress Show staged at the Regina exhibition grounds for more than 40 years, Canada’s Farm Show will feature numerous online speaker presentations June 16-17. The show was cancelled completely in 2020 due to the pandemic, but returns with a virtual version for 2021.
“It is an action-and-information-packed agenda over the two days,” says Shirley Janeczko, manager of Canada’s Farm Show agricultural program. “Hopefully we will be back with a live event in 2022, but in the meantime, we have put together an excellent virtual program that will tap into the expertise of industry leaders, looking at where the agriculture industry is today, as well as where it is headed over the coming years.”
The two-day show is split into two main themes. Day 1, June 16, is billed as Innovation Day, which includes a look at the state of the agriculture industry in 2021. Day 2, June 17, will feature speaker presentations on international business.
The Day 1 program
The Day 1 program will feature a Presidents’ Panel, as the presidents of several Canadian agricultural companies will provide an assessment of where the agriculture industry is today.
Also on the agenda is a Manufacturers’ Panel looking at the talent and ingenuity of farm machinery manufacturers in Saskatchewan as well as Western Canada.
There will also be speaker presentations on artificial intelligence and its role and effect on agriculture, the potential of the plant protein industry and an outlook on food security, to name a few.
“Day 1 we will also be announcing the Innovation Award winners,” says Janeczko. “We have 17 excellent nominees representing a wide range of new technology and innovations of value to Canadian farmers. From that group of nominees is the difficult task of selecting five outstanding Innovation Award winners.”
A highlight of the day will be presentations by featured speakers such as Rob Saik, well known for his involvement over the years in many companies in the agriculture sector, ranging from farming in Uganda, cattle, ag retail, fertilizer manufacturing, distribution, marketing, consulting, data, ag tech and robotics. He now serves as CEO of AGvisorPRO.
Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture, David Marit, is also a featured speaker, while there will also be a fireside chat with former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, now a special advisor in the Osler law firm in Calgary.
The Ag Tech Challenge
Day 1 will also kick off the popular 24-Hour Ag Tech Challenge. This is an event that brings together what’s described as “the best and brightest in agriculture, talented entrepreneurs and business leaders, developers and technical experts, as well as designers and marketing gurus” who are challenged to solve real-life problems the agricultural industry is facing.
The competitors have 24 hours to develop a solution to the problem and convince a panel of industry experts that their idea is best. Along with bragging rights, the competition also offers $7,000 in prize money.
Canada’s Farm Show has partnered with Cultivator, Canada’s first Credit Union-led incubator, to challenge participants, including designers, developers, engineers or general business visionaries. These participants will have the opportunity to work together and create a business plan and a minimum viable product in 24 hours, with the support of industry experts. The best pitches at the end of the event will walk away with a cash prize.
The Day 1 program will also include a Pioneer Panel, featuring presentations by some of the technology pioneers in Western Canada.
And now for Day 2
The Day 2 program, June 17, will be centered on international business. It will feature a panel discussion with company representatives involved in marketing Canadian technology for export markets.
There will also be speaker presentations during the day on the power of digitalization in the agriculture industry as well as a panel discussion on mental health issues.
Featured speakers on DAY 2 will include Thomas Benjoe, CEO of FHQ Developments, with a look at opportunities for Indigenous agriculture. In 2010, the 11-member, First Nation communities of File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC), representing more than 15,000 First Nation citizens and 435,000 acres of reserve lands in Treaty 4 territory, formed FHQ Developments as a limited partnership agreement.
Two other featured speakers on Day 2 include former prime minister Stephen Harper, now chairman and CEO of his own firm, Harper and Associates Consulting, and perhaps a name you wouldn’t expect to see on a farm show agenda, the Canadian-born, Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, who is a man of many other titles including former newspaper publisher, financier, historian, commentator, columnist and some might add ex-con after Black served time in U.S. jails following his conviction on fraud charges. His talk will be on trade and export topics.
Two other important events during Day 2 of Canada’s Farm Show are the Saskatchewan chapter of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) will be selecting the Saskatchewan regional winner from two excellent nominations and the winner of the 24-Hour AgTech Challenge will be announced.
Regional OYF nominees are Stuart Chutter, a first-generation, purebred beef producer at Killaly, Sask., northeast of Regina and about 23 kilometres south of Melville; and Michael and Jessica Lovich, owners of Lovholm Holsteins dairy farm at Balgonie, Sask., 25 kilometres east of Regina.
Encouraged to register
Although there is no charge to attend or log in to the Canada’s Farm Show program, Janeczko says producers are urged to register ahead of time. They can visit the Canada’s Farm Show website, answer a few questions to register and review the program.
Registrants can build their own schedule of speakers to connect with during the two-day event. One feature of the virtual program is any farmers registered for the show will be able to listen to or revisit most of the speaker presentations from June 16 to the end of the year. The featured speaker presentations will be available for about two weeks after the show dates.
For more details on the Canada’s Farm Show program, visit the show website at canadasfarmshow.com.