Ag Days: Early birds get high-level briefings

Manitoba Ag Days is where the ag year begins not just for producers, but for the many manufacturers and industry participants who attend the show.

For 11 years, the Agri-Marketing Centre has provided them with business services and resources, such as the complementary Internet café, meeting lounge, export planning, sector/market profiles, and informational breakfast forums.

The Agri-Marketing Centre is a semi-private business venue located in a separate 2,100-square-foot room on the show site and industry sponsors share the costs of the centre’s complimentary services.

“Thanks to the support of our sponsors, we have been able to provide a service to exhibitors, manufacturers, visiting industry people and even producers who have industries on the farm, on a fully complementary basis, as well as a free breakfast at each of the two forums on Wednesday and Thursday morning,” says Bill Teerhuis of Manitoba Trade & Investment (MTI), which co-ordinates the Agri-Marketing Centre.

Mini-seminars

The popular ‘Early Bird Breakfast and Export Forum’ mini-seminars, held on Wednesday and Thursday prior to the show’s daily opening, offer participating industry experts and attendees the chance to explore pertinent issues facing new and established exporters such as trade barriers and emerging trends in national and regional markets.

The themes for this year’s forums are human resources and international marketing. Wednesday’s breakfast forum will feature a panel including MTI’s foreign trade representative for Europe and a representative from the Lex Mundi network who will be speaking about the challenges of exporting to Germany and Western Europe.

“We are finding that there is more focus today on exporting to European countries, especially with the recently signed free trade agreement that Canada has entered into with the European Union,” says Teerhuis. “Our manufacturers are becoming more aware of the opportunities that exist. The U.S. has always been our biggest trading partner and companies have, for the most part, been focusing on that with a very secondary focus on offshore international markets.”

Manitoba companies are leading the way in making significant inroads into offshore export markets with agricultural products that are a good fit for the emerging economies of countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan, he says.

“One of the things that we will be emphasizing at the forum is that Manitoba companies have been very successful in selling the Canada brand,” says Teerhuis. “Canada is very well respected and well known all over the world for its very high quality and cost-effective dryland farming technology.”

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