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2020 Ag-Expo and North American Seed Fair kicks off

CTV News

Feb 26, 2020

The Ag Expo and North American Seed Fair, one of western Canada's largest Ag Expos, kicked off Wednesday at the Lethbridge Exhibition Park.

LETHBRIDGE -- The Ag Expo and North American Seed Fair, one of western Canada's largest Ag Expos, kicked off Wednesday at the Lethbridge Exhibition Park.

The Ag-Expo and North American Seed Fair have returned to Lethbridge. The expo features vendors from across North America who are showcasing the latest farming equipment, machinery and technology.

This year's event features over 31,000 square metres (340,000 square feet) of exhibit space both inside and outside, which means there’s a lot to plough through.

Chief Operating Officer at Exhibition Park Mike Warkentin said the Ag-Expo is vitally important to the industry.

“Obviously agriculture is the lifeline of the economy here in southern Alberta," Warkentin said, "and this (event) is our contribution to a growing industry for western Canadians.”

Warkentin said this year there will be over 350 vendors.

Another big part of the expo is the seed fair. It started over 100 years ago, and it’s become the longest-running seed fair in North America, showcasing over 25 classes of pedigreed seed.

A.F.S.C. Client Development Advisor Marilyn Smith said visitors have been enjoying the “Can you guess that seed?” game at her booth.

“I brought over 40 seeds with me," Smith said. "I couldn’t fit them all on the table! There’s some very common ones of course -- we have some corn and sunflowers -- but then a lot of the peas and the wheat and some of the beans, they have no idea of the different types (are),  so it’s a fun little game that they’re really enjoying playing with us today.”

Smith added that the Ag-Expo is great way to connect with producers, clients and says it’s always exciting to see the latest in farming technology.

Each year all of the vendor spots are sold out by December, and this year 10 per cent of the exhibits are brand new to the Ag-Expo, including the guest speaker’s series.

Executive Director of SouthGrow Regional Intuitive Peter Casurella said the speaker series is something that SouthGrow has always wanted to do.

“We want to start to highlight some of the opportunities that are available by bringing in innovative speakers to talk about innovations that are happening in Ag," Casurella said. "New opportunities that are available in Agro Food or supports that are available to help innovative southern Albertans take their idea from concept that they thought up around the kitchen table to actually getting a commercial license market.”

Casurella went on to say that the topics and speakers range from Protein Industries Canada, which is a natural super cluster set up by the government, to a craft cannabis park called the Taber Grasslands Collaborative.

The SouthGrow speaker lineup will continue through the expo.

The Ag Expo is from 9am -5pm and runs February 26 – February 28 at Exhibition Park.

Vanessa Arrate

CTV News Lethbridge Video Journalist

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