I announced yesterday to a couple colleagues who work for the Western Producer, “We are wasting our time and energies writing stories. What idiots. If we want real financial success in life — sell ice cream.”
That was my take home message from Day 2 (Wednesday) at the Ag In Motion (AIM) farm show near at Langham, Sask. The lineup at the ice cream vendor next to the Grainews booth never stopped all day. Although when your company name is “The Mean Green Ice Cream Machine,” who can resist? Don’t think I go to these shows and only care about food, but obviously it is important to a lot of AIM goers as well. On a sunny, 30 C day ice cream is a pretty good idea.
The longer you are there, the more you realize just how big this farm show is. I don’t think I ran into one person who didn’t say “Boy, there is lots to see here.” One of my loyal readers, Don Gibson, who farms near Sangudo, Alta. (just northwest of Edmonton) stopped by to claim a Grainews ball cap. He brought the RV unit and parked it near the show. He knew there would be too much to see in a day, so he and his travelling companions were spending the night at AIM.
By my rough but experienced estimate I figured there were nearly one million visitors to Ag in Motion Wednesday. I could be wrong. But I’m guessing about half of those were from western Canadian Hutterite colonies — Warner, Rosetown, Kyle, Blaine Lake, Kindersley, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and many others.
It’s always good to talk to these producers. I always learn something. John Walter from the Greenleaf Colony at Blaine Lake was telling me about what sounds like a very nice and very busy provincially inspected meat processing plant they have on their farm. They processed about 200 head of elk and deer last fall, process about 15 hogs per week and custom kill, cut and wrap beef on a regular basis, poultry, you name it — it’s just a very busy place. They also have a retail area at the plant and supply meat — including burgers and sausage — to local retailers. I’d like to have a look at that someday.
The Grainews booth oasis
The Grainews booth/tent was a bit like an oasis, may be even like Lourdes at times. They came with their canes and walkers, young and old, to sit for a while on the shaded picnic tables to take a break. There was one couple farming near Moose Jaw who stopped by with their Red Fox Lab pup… they said the pup needed a break; I think they did too. They took a break, got an ice cream from Mean Green Machine — and yes, the pup did have a nap — and then headed on their way.
I spoke to a young fella from Ukraine who is working on a grain farm near Borden, Sask. this summer. He did work for a big corporate farm at home — a grain operation covering about 250,000 acres — but he said while the owners did OK, the workers weren’t paid very well. He also worked for a while in Denmark and then thought he would like to try Canada. He loves it. He was a farm kid at home and likes the feel of farming in Saskatchewan. He was interested to see if he could stay.
Dry growing conditions across most of Saskatchewan was the story of the day according to producers. The only farmer who said too much moisture was still a concern came from the Vegreville area of northeastern Alberta. Crops were looking pretty good in that area, but they weren’t far from being at the saturation point.
Loaders, pumps and mixers
Aside from a couple people who came to the booth with canes and walkers, one young fella drove up with a small loader. John Stoop, with Steqcan equipment, a dealer for the Giant brand of loaders, forklifts and telehandlers, dropped off his card. He’s a good Ottawa valley boy from Westmeath, west of Ottawa. He had a booth at the show introducing western farmers to their line of equipment. He mentioned that Westmeath is near Arnprior, which immediately took me down memory lane. I told John I knew Arnprior very well. The first job I ever had as a reporter was at the Arnprior Chronicle. That was many years ago now. It pained me to tell John, “I worked there probably long before you were born.”
Mikhail Sorokin is with Fireball Equipment over in the livestock area. If you need a pump for any reason Fireball has it. Their products aren’t specific to livestock — that’s just where their booth was located — but whether you have a 45-gallon barrel, a fuel tank in the back or your truck, or are filling a container ship with a million gallons of diesel fuel, Fireball has a pump for you.
And if you are feeding cattle at total mixed ration — whether it be beef or dairy — have a talk with Jasmine Brodziak at Agrimatics of Saskatoon. They’ve developed the Libra line of controllers and weighing software. Their first product was developed to weigh and measure products going into grain carts. Now they’ve developed the Libra equipment for preparing Total Mixed Rations in mixer wagons — “a revolutionary ration weighing and data management solution.”
I haven’t even mentioned the acres upon acres of red, green, blue and yellow farm machinery for both crops and livestock, or large plots of canola, cereals, soybeans, corn, pulse crops and all the support products that go along with machinery and crop production. Maybe if the lineup at the ice cream stand wasn’t so long I’d have more time to look at this stuff. A person has to set their priorities.
— Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Check out his regular blog HERE.