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Manitoba Ag Days is celebrating 35 years of bringing the best and brightest in the agricultural community all together under one roof at Brandon’s Keystone Centre.

“We have a high-level indoor show and the fact that it’s all in one place is a real benefit,” says Manitoba Ag Days co-chair, Scott Perkin. This year’s event will bring together a host of speakers and presenters for a full program that provides information and perspectives on agricultural topics from around the world.

It’s an aspect of the event that remains hugely popular with attendees, says Manitoba Ag Days co-chair, Jonathon Roskos. “Manitoba Ag Days allows producers to educate themselves on what’s timely and this year we have a well-rounded slate of topics, so there is going to be something to interest everybody in this year’s program,” he says.

There’s a definite international feel at this year’s event, reflective of the truly global industry that agriculture has become. There will be a session on Australian farming issues and speaker, Leona Dargis, a young Canadian farmer who has travelled to 12 countries in the last four years, will bring a unique, global perspective about what the next generation of farmers has in store.

Feeding the world

Al Scholz, president of CIBUS Management Group, will give insight into “who will feed the world” based on his research into sustainable food production and more than 10 years of international agri-food experience.

There will, of course, be all the usual market and crop production outlooks offered by industry experts, and one of them, Thomas Mielke, will present an oilseeds outlook via webinar from Hamburg, Germany.

And there are some more unusual topics, like the challenges of meeting that special person when living in a rural community. Diane Mowbray, owner of Candlelight International Matchmakers will be talking about some of the rural Manitoba couples she has brought together through her on-farm matchmaking business on Tuesday morning.

Ever wondered what more you can do with your smartphone other than texting and email? Andrew Campbell, a reporter, writer, marketing planner and dairy producer from Ontario will be on hand during the Technology Overview on Wednesday afternoon to explain how to use mobile technology to increase knowledge and income on the farm.

New technology

Other sessions offer advice on GPS systems and Peter Gamache will discuss controlled traffic farming, a relatively new production practice currently being assessed by a farmer-led initiative, Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta.

A large percentage of the 36,000 Manitoba Ag Days attendees are from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and for many, a number of Tuesday’s sessions will be especially relevant.

Brandon’s mayor, Shari Decter Hirst will lead a series of short presentations that demonstrate how rural communities in Manitoba pulled together in the face of adversity through a tough 2011.

Whilst “lessons learned in a wet decade” led by Terry Buss of MAFRI, talks about the challenges of “farming in the wet,” Cam Dahl, general manager of Manitoba Beef Producers, will discuss increasing public awareness of what producers do, a topical theme for all Prairie farmers.

With over 500 exhibitors, 45 speakers and the largest Bull Congress ever, Manitoba Ag Days is truly Manitoba’s premier agricultural event.

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