You could have the best cattle in the world, but if nobody knows about them, it won’t do you much good.
It’s a reality cattle breeders across Canada struggle with, and a big reason there are cattle shows, say exhibitors at this year’s Ag Ex event in Brandon.
The show is the province’s largest all-breed event, and a great place to showcase your wares according to Troy Richaud, who owns and operates Richaud Stock Farms near Oakville, Man. along with wife Katlyn.
“I come to this show to get some exposure for what I am doing with my cows at home and how I am running my program,” said Richaud. “Coming here, and other similar shows, is really for promotion. Running a pure breed farm is like running any other business. The more that you can get out and promote the further your business is going to go in the long-term run of things.”
Richaud has attended Ag Ex for the past six years and has brought cattle along for the past four years. He says a lot of work goes into preparing for an event like this, and it’s something you get better at over time. From fitting to clipping and preparing stock, it all takes time and effort.
He’s been raising purebred hereford cattle for 10 years and was a 4-H cattle exhibitor for four years as well — yet he still feels there’s room for improvement.
“Even with all my years, I am still learning stuff,” he said.
He said a benefit of shows like Ag Ex is the chance to meet and learn from others with even more experience.
“By coming here, you get to see people who have been in it for 30, 40 years,” Richaud said. “You learn things, you make friends and it’s a social outing too.”
For Richaud, Ag Ex is an opportunity to stay in tune with the industry, interact with other breeders, learn a few new things and, at the same time, market a few cows. It also lets him look over the fencerow and see how others are faring and perhaps get a bit more insight into changes to make to his own herd.
“Here you have different bloodlines so you can see how types of these cattle turn out and if you are interested in some bloodlines you can see the calves that come off of them,” Richaud said.
The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba hosted Ag Ex at Brandon’s Keystone Centre on October 26 to 29.
The event saw more than 700 head of cattle gathered for a number of shows and sales that have been amalgamated under a single event.
Booming participation shows the industry is feeling pretty good about things even as prices have dropped a bit.
“There is optimism in the cattle industry right now. Prices are obviously a cyclical thing that go up and down but I think overall people believe that there is strength in the industry and this is a great opportunity for exhibitors to market their cattle,” said Ron Kristjansson, general manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.
“We have eight breeds of cattle that run their own shows within the cattle show portion and then there is seven equine partner groups that are also working to put on events, so there are a lot of moving parts,” Kristjansson said.
New to the event this year was the Canadian National Limousin Show, which has not been held in Brandon since 2012 and the Western Canadian Hereford Show that has never before been held outside of Edmonton.