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Agriculture in the spotlight

Posted on February 21, 2018 by Dave Sulz
Lethbridge Herald file photo by Tijana Martin A youngster takes the wheel of one of the large pieces of equipment featured at the 2016 Ag Expo at Exhibition Park.

If you’re looking forward to the arrival of spring, an annual event coming up soon will provide a reminder of the season that can’t come soon enough for those tired of winter.
The 2018 South Country Co-Op Ag Expo, presented by Farm Credit Canada, will take over Exhibition Park for three days, Feb. 28 and March 1 and 2. The show also features the North American Seed Fair presented By FortisAlberta.
The show, which will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, will feature more than 350 indoor exhibitors covering areas including farm equipment, livestock supplies, chemicals, seeds, irrigation, producers and marketers of crops and livestock, and much more. Visitors will also be able to meet with exhibitors who offer new technology, brokerage services, communications, banking, and other “Tools of the Trade” exhibitors.
Outside will be the popular Machinery Row, utitilizing more than 150,000 square feet of space to display equipment that attracts the attention of young and old.
Ag Expo is not only popular with visitors, but exhibitors, too. There’s so much exhibitor demand to participate in the annual ag show that there’s a lengthy waiting list, says Doug Kryzanowski, marketing manager for Exhibition Park.
“There’s a huge increase in sponsorship for Ag Expo,” Kryzanowski adds, noting that in view of the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry, “our true core industry in Alberta is agriculture — farm, ranch and agriculture — and right now it’s really showing that.”
The timing of Ag Expo also helps whet the appetites of those in the agriculture industry — or with ties to it — before the arrival of spring.
“We’re the second-last show of the farm and agriculture circuit before people start getting into the field to seed,” said Kryzanowski.
Kryzanowski believes the Lethbridge ag show also benefits from the area’s agriculture roots in drawing spectators beyond those actually in the ag industry. The show attracts seniors who have retired from farming but who still have an interest in it, as well as families with connections to agriculture. Unlike a larger urban centre like Calgary, “we’ve grown up with agriculture,” he said, noting most people have an understanding of where their food comes from.
The North American Seed Fair which is part of Ag Expo is one of the few still remaining, said Kryzanowski.
He notes the seed fair has been part of the Lethbridge Exhibition since its beginnings in 1897, and organizers feels it’s important to retain that component of Ag Expo.
“We’re one of three left in North America,” he said. “We’re hanging onto ours.”
The North American Seed Fair showcases 27 classes of pedigreed seed, open classes and junior classes. Displayed on the Seed Floor of the South Pavilion, the fair is one of the oldest seed fairs in Western Canada.
The Seed Fair awards reception will take place March 2 from 2-3 p.m. in Heritage Hall.
Admission for Ag Expo is $7 per person, with those under 10 admitted free. Parking is $5.
The show also features a breakfast buffet from 8:30-10 a.m. at Heritage Hall for $10, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns and waffles, with coffee and juice sold separately.
There’s also a daily lunch buffet in Heritage Hall from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for $16. Wednesday’s menu includes ham, scallop potato, vegetable, salads and buns. Thursday features turkey, stuffing, mashed potato, vegetable, salads and buns, and Friday will offer beef on a bun, roasted potato, vegetable, salads and buns.

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