SASKATOON — The Ag in Motion Outdoor Farm Show hit its mark opening day as farmers and exhibitors were anxious to be back at the Discovery Farm near Langham, Sask.
This show is the first in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Tuesday saw a turnout similar to 2019’s, as well as 543 exhibitors.
“It’s great to have Ag in Motion again,” said show director Rob O’Connor.
“To have all these companies and farmers at the show, and of course all our staff back together from across the country here in Langham. It feels pretty great.”
The show began in 2015, with only 209 exhibitors. With the show being relatively new and growth being delayed by the pandemic, there was concern numbers may dip and people may lose interest. O’Connor said this wasn’t the case.
“There’s always been great momentum for the show from exhibitors and farmers, so I don’t think it was a tough sell,” he said. “But certainly, it was always in the back of your mind.
“We’re a resilient group in agriculture, and I think we powered through COVID as an industry, and this doesn’t seem to be that large of a concern here at this show.”
People from across the world were in attendance, including an ambassador from Kazakhstan.
Donavon Friesen traveled from Roblin, Man., to check out the farm equipment and demonstrations.
“It’s probably the only place we come to,” said Friesen.
“We used to go to the Farm Progress Show (Now Canada’s Farm Show in Regina), but I like this.
“It’s really nice to actually be out there. You can actually see it drive past, or you can get in it and run some of them and that’s really cool.”
Friesen attributed being able to see the ag-tech in action for why he makes the lengthy trip to the show every year. He also said it actually seemed bigger than the 2019 show.
O’Connor said the biggest difference from the 2019 show was the parking and admission. This year people park first, then get admitted as they walk through the gate.
“We wanted to improve our customer experience when they came through the gates,” he said.
“I feel that’s probably sped up the process by about 50 percent.”
Chris Halford, owner of Vale Industries, along with son Quin and Ag Hall of Famer father Jim Halford, were also in attendance for the event.
Chris and Jim attended in 2019, but this was Quin’s first time.
“It’s a lot bigger compared to the show in Regina,” he said.
The Halfords weren’t there just to discover new technologies for their family farm near Sintaluta, Sask., but to unveil Vale’s Grain Giant product, which is a massive grain cart with unloading auger that lowers to the ground before being filled in the field.
Vale’s product was one of the participants of the TD Bank Innovations Program, which announced the winners July 18. Five awards were given out for the different categories: agronomics, business solutions, environmental sustainability, Equipment and livestock.
ATP Nutrition, DTN, Precision AI, Sky-Ag Tech and partner XAG Co. Ltd. and Farm Simple Solutions Ltd. had their products announced as the winners. All winners and participants have booths displaying their product at the show.
Opening day at AIM ran from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and was filled with seeding, tillage, livestock handling, livestock equipment and drone demonstrations.
Axiom debuted its Applied Analytics Drone product using a demonstration, while Nutrien launched its Smart Nutrition product at its Premium Fertilizer Technologies booth.
Guest speakers in the Knowledge Tent included Trevor Scherman of Schergrain discussing combine settings, Andrew Van Os on his data driven Field Optimization Program and Joy Agnew, associate vice-president of applied research at Olds college speaking on the Pan-Canadian Smart-Farm Network.
Nutrien held its Field of STARS event at 6 p.m. in support of STARS Air Ambulance rescue.
A brisket dinner, live auction, pledge drive and pie eating contest was held, with 18-year-old guest speaker Draedon Faubert and his family there as well. Faubert was in a serious car crash in 2020 and was rescued by helicopter, saving his life.
The evening was capped by performances by Charlie Major and Jess Moskaluke, marking the end of day one.