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Agri-Trade show pleases organizers


Though next year may be the big 30th anniversary for Agri-Trade, organizers said this year’s was a great show for the agricultural industry.

Dianne Smirl, Agri-Trade assistance event manager, was pleased with how well the show had gone this year, as well as being encouraged by the dedication of some attendees despite adverse weather.

“Considering the weather that has come down I am astounded by the support we’ve received,” said Smirl.

“Thursday was probably our busiest day and with the way the weather was I was shocked. Friday was pretty busy too.”

Running from Nov. 7 to 10 at the Westerner Park in Red Deer, 432 exhibitors packed into the 500,000 square feet of show space for the event.

Though Smirl concedes the total number of attendees may be down from last year, in part due to the volume of snow that fell during the event, based off of her conversations with vendors this year there have been more sales.

“The qualified buyers are getting here,” said Smirl. “Which is great news.”

Smirl said there were several highlights over the course of the weekend including the Ag Innovations Program, which showcases new agricultural innovations; appearances by Brock Lesnar and Kevin Martin and his curling team and Dow AgriSciences gave away a combine.

“This is the start of the farm show circuit,” said Smirl. “This is a sweet spot week. From our exhibitors we’re hearing we’re the best buying show in Canada for agriculture. That speaks to the kind of people coming to the show.”

Attendees came from all over Canada including Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan, as well as Alberta.

There was also an international flavour to the show as there was an entire international pavilion with up to 20 exhibitors from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Smirl said the Canadian manufacturers they highlight at the show will launch their product line for the coming year, meaning international attendees want to come and see what is available.

Danielle Klooster, Central Alberta: Access Prosperity business retention, expansion and investment officer, said the reason they sponsored Agri-Trade and the international aspects of the show was agriculture is one of their target sectors for international investment.

“With the Agri-Trade show having taken on a more international flavour,” said Klooster. “It makes total sense for us to be here and be working with those international companies to see how they can start actually doing business in Central Alberta and make business to business connections.”

To aid in the establishment of those business to business connections Klooster’s organization sponsored the international business lounge, where they were working, even well in advance of the show, to arrange meetings and facilitating introductions between companies from around the world.

Klooster said this process has led to the creation of some good business connections.

To build on these connections, Klooster said the next step is to follow up after the introductions.

“If you don’t do the follow up after you make the initial connections and help foster those relationships then people get busy and life goes on and those things don’t happen,” said Klooster.

“Now that we’ve facilitated some of those great introductions or had people come to us and ask to make connections for them. The work we do here is just the first step in the process.”

Aside from better weather, Smirl said the hopes for next year include expanding the international aspect of the show and reaching the younger generation of agricultural producers.

Next year’s show is a particularly important one as it is the 30th anniversary of Agri-Trade.

“The fact we’re celebrating 30 is huge,” said Smirl. “There’ll be a huge celebration of Agri-Trade.”

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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