Tuesday, 05 March 2013 10:16

Innovation on display at 2013 Ag Expo

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Jeff Slingerland (right) and two-and-a-half-year-old son Austin from Coaldale sit in one of the massive tractors on display at the annual Lethbridge Ag Expo at Exhibition Park, Feb. 28. Jeff Slingerland (right) and two-and-a-half-year-old son Austin from Coaldale sit in one of the massive tractors on display at the annual Lethbridge Ag Expo at Exhibition Park, Feb. 28. Photo by Stephanie Labbe

Local and southern Alberta area farmers gathered at the Lethbridge Ag Expo, Feb. 27- March 1 to learn about new and innovative products on today’s market.

Doug Dryzanowski, manager of corporate relations, marketing, events and entertainment for the Lethbridge Exhibition Park, says the event has taken place for over 40 years and is still going strong.
With more than 300 exhibitors, farmers and local producers have the opportunity to meet the faces behind the products they like or are introduced to innovative farming practices.
“It started as a small little fair and it just kept growing and growing,” says Dryzanowski.
He adds the hope was to bring in around 25,000 people for this year’s three-day event, which would be similar to last year’s attendance.
“It’s steady and ... what happens, the personality of our Ag Expo show is that we’ll have a lot of tire-kickers on Wednesday and they may come back Friday to sign a deal, or they’ll come back Thursday and look again and then come back Friday to sign,” explains Dryzanowski.
People aren’t going to buy a $250,000 piece of equipment on impulse.
Many people go everyday to have a look while others just attend in to see what’s there each year.
However, Dryzanowski says the main goal of the event is to bring people together and have them mingle.
It helps the companies by getting their names out to people they might not otherwise see.
Dryzanowski gauges the show’s success by speaking with exhibitors and asking how much they sold and how much interest they received.
“From an exhibition point of view, back in the day exhibitions were formed, because people came to an area to meet ... whether it was a fair or quilting competition ... so I think if I could go back in history, probably a lot of the farmers got together around the rodeo or around the quilting stuff,” says Dryzanowski.
Southern Alberta relies on farm and ranching and because agriculture highly contributes to the economy, so it’s critical to hold these type of events. It’s important to bring people with the same passion together to learn where they can get information  about the best quality equipment and products he adds.
“With this show in particular ... it’s one of the biggest commodities we’ve got, so these people come, they see new machinery, they want to be more efficient in how they do business. They want to make more money, because of the efficiencies.”
In Dryzanowski’s opinion, Ag Expo has been quite successful over the years, not only in attendance, but in success for the exhibitors.
He says when farmers are looking to purchase a new piece of machinery for the farm, they want to be able to meet the seller face to face.
“It’s a show that ... they need and the farming/ranching community needs. The exhibitors need it, they’ve got a lot of product you can see here — big product, small product and yes you can do a lot of online stuff, but when it comes down to actually buying a half a million dollar tractor ... you want to be able to talk to somebody,” says Dryzanowski.
Ag Expo, Whoop-Up Days and the Home and Garden Show are events which bring everyone together.
Dryzanowski adds some people come to the Ag Expo just to browse and get an idea of what they want and from whom to purchase. Some people may even choose to make their purchases weeks or months after the show.
Every year, Ag Expo has about 40 exhibitors on a waiting list for the next year’s show. In the upcoming years, exhibition grounds officials will be looking to expand the buildings or add more buildings for future shows, to house more exhibitors.
Something new at this year’s show was an international company on the grounds located outside Heritage Hall. Terrui Mechanical Equipment Co. Ltd. traveled from Shanghai China to be at its first Lethbridge Ag Expo. Terrui is one of the leading electric fence-holder and livestock drinking systems suppliers in China. This year, is the first time the Ag Expo has had an international company as an exhibitor.
“Our product is ... focusing on the farm and so this area (there are) a lot of farms ... Our hay exporters are here (in Alberta),” says Kai Wang with Terrui LTD.
The products are manufactured in China and the company has been running for about 10 years. A lot of their hay feed has been imported from Canada for the past two years.
Wang adds the hope of attending the Ag Expo and by importing hay from Canada is that Green Prairie will help expand Terrui’s business into Canada.

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