While we all start the year with the fresh flip of a brand new calendar January 1, when it comes to agriculture in Manitoba, Manitoba Ag Days is really where the year begins. This year’s Manitoba Ag Days will take place January 20-22, 2015 at Brandon’s Keystone Centre.
“Manitoba Ag Days is the first agricultural show of the year and we are very excited about it,” says Jonothon Roskos, who with is wife Christine serves as co-manager. “It is the one-stop shop for agricultural producers to visit and get the latest on technology, products and the ever-changing world of agriculture.”
According to Roskos, Manitoba Ag Days is unique from most regional trade shows. Here, everything is 100 per cent targeted at those who work, live and support the agricultural world from the latest in farm equipment to the displays of rapidly changing technology, to the provision of agriculture services and everything in between. Each year, the popular farm show has continued to grow and remains proudly committed to ensuring that all exhibitors, speakers and presentations are strictly agriculture related.
“We have a very diverse selection of exhibitors that attend,” Roskos said. “Exhibitors know they have a targeted market of producers and the ability to promote their business and products to approximately 35,000 attendees who come through our doors over the three days of the show as a tremendous opportunity.”
Some of the exhibitors have been coming to Manitoba Ag Days for three decades plus. At the outset, the big event originally gathered farmers, producers and exhibitors as the Weed Fair way back. Over time, it became Manitoba Ag Days and became Canada’s largest indoor farm show solely focused on agriculture. The Keystone Centre provides 10 acres of floor space that Roskos says is covered wall to wall with more than 500 exhibitors.
Roskos has been around Manitoba Ag Days since 2001 as a farmer, volunteer and now co-manager of the event. He says he sees familiar faces every year. In fact, some have been taking part in the show since the Weed Fair. Roskos mentions Ag Shield Manufacturing of Benito, Canacade Co. Ltd. of Brandon and Wheat City Seeds, also of Brandon, as some of the longtime exhibitors to attend.
This year’s Ag Days will jump-start with a kickoff breakfast on Tuesday, January 20 at 7:30 a.m. Show attendees and exhibitors will get their day off to a great start before the busy show with a country-size breakfast at the Roadhouse Inn located in the Canad Inn attached to the Keystone Centre. The cost is only a toonie (or greater donation if you wish) and all proceeds are earmarked to “Agriculture In The Classroom” program.
Christine Roskos says this year’s show also coincides with renovations underway at the Keystone Centre and the event committee has worked hard to ensure there are as few distractions or disruptions as possible.
“Visitors will notice a change in the show’s floor plan due to construction,” she explained. “We have been successful in finding alternative space throughout the facility to accommodate all of the exhibitors, so the size of the show won’t change.”
In particular, says Christine, visitors will notice that the Bull Congress has been relocated to Barn 11 and is accessible through the northeast corner of the Kinsmen Arena. This building has recently undergone some upgrades and will be an excellent addition to the 2015 show to help with the construction situation.
Bring your parka
The show will also continue the use of the outdoor displays. Unfazed by the cold Manitoba winters, the outdoor displays offer visitors the opportunity to look at the product — many of which are showcased in their full-functioning form — and then proceed inside to talk about it with the exhibitor. The outdoor displays provide a great opportunity for Ag Days attendees to see the equipment in operation rather than looking at a picture in a brochure and having to follow up later with a visit to the dealer.
The event co-managers are also very proud of the community spirit that Ag Days brings to the Keystone Centre and the Brandon area.
“A big hit from our show last year was the 50-50 draw with all the proceeds going to local charities,” Jonothon says. “The tickets for 50-50 are available for purchase on site during the show hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last year the show was able to sell $15,960 in tickets. Manitoba Ag Days was proud to make a presentation to STARS Air Ambulance for $7,980 and the other half went to one lucky winner.”
2015 Manitoba Ag Days looks to continue its well-earned reputation as the showcase of Manitoba agricultural production expertise, technology, and equipment that attracts exhibitors and visitors from across Canada and the upper plains of the United States.