The global economic downturn lingers on, and the Canadian beef and pork industries continue to face challenges.
But such problems haven’t deterred businesses from lining up for a spot at Red Deer’s annual Agri-Trade Exposition.
Event manager Pat Kennedy said on Friday that 430 exhibitors are booked for the Nov. 11 to 14 show at Westerner Park, with the waiting list reaching a record length.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever gone past 80.”
Despite the current hardships of cattle and hog producers, Kennedy said he hasn’t noticed a decreased presence of related businesses like livestock-handling equipment suppliers.
“If anything, they want more space, not less.”
He also doesn’t anticipate that attendance will decline this year.
“We’ve established ourselves over the past 25 years — this is the 26th year of the show — and I think people use Agri-Trade as a barometer to get together and talk to folks and say, ‘What’s happening next year? What’s the new R&D?’”
New products are routinely launched at Agri-Trade, said Kennedy, and it’s a good place for farmers to get a glimpse of what the future holds.
“It’s just amazing what’s going on in agriculture right now.”
What’s New is the theme of this year’s edition of Agri-Trade. Related displays will focus on wind- and solar-generated power, as well as on biodiesel.
There will also be demonstrations of a GPS-guided tractor.
The Ag Innovation Awards, now in their second year, will also recognize products and services helping to advance the industry. Finalists for this year’s awards are BASF, New Holland, Crawford’s West Inc., Manulift EMI Ltd., Jaylor Fabricating Inc., Agri-Trend Agrology, 4 Wind Energy Inc., Ranchview Inc., Renn Mill Centre Inc, Moly Manufacturing Inc. and Farmers Edge Precision Consulting.
The 2009 Farm Family of the Year will be recognized at a VIP luncheon on Nov. 11, as will the recipients of bursaries going to students at Red Deer College and Olds College.
Returning to Agri-Trade this year will be Home Happenings, which will feature home products and services, including fashion and health ideas. And the Collector Toy Show will again showcase farm-themed and other toys, as well as items ranging from comic books to belt buckles.
Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $10, which includes parking and GST, with children under 12 allowed in free.