The ag-economy of Central Alberta
For the past 33 years, the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce has been proud to partner with Westerner Park to present the largest agriculture equipment trade show in Western Canada.
Over the years Agri-Trade has expanded to utilize almost every square foot available of Westerner Park, including a substantial portion of the parking lot and still has a waiting list of want-to-be exhibitors. In 2016 we saw over 28,000 qualified agriculture buyers attend the show despite the prime harvest weather of plus 20 degrees following unusually early and heavy snowfall of that October. Those attendees saw 475 farm manufacturers showing the latest and greatest in agriculture machinery and technology spread throughout 300,000 square feet.
With farmers, ranchers, and equipment dealers taking the rare opportunity to converge upon an urban centre, hotels and restaurants are full as families, friends, and business colleagues reconnect. Similarly, local shopping centres, car dealerships, and other retailers report the week of Agri-Trade providing a significant bump in their annual sales. Following the show an economic impact assessment estimated $150 million spent annually in equipment sales and regional tourism.
Despite the massive and integral role farmers play in our modern economy (such as providing food), it’s easy to dismiss their importance seeing as the vast majority of us live in urban centres and farmers comprise less than 2% of the overall population.
Here in Central Alberta, the impact of agriculture is especially important to our regional economy as we benefit from the entire supply chain that includes equipment dealers, food processors such as Nossacks, Olymel, Saputo, and Bles-Wold, and the shipping companies that move the product. Agriculture employs thousands of people and injects millions of dollars into the region.
And that level of economic benefit would not be possible if it were not for the impressive and ever evolving technology utilized. Economies of scale has increasingly forced farmers to grow the size of their farms and the yield per acre to be viable. Turning a profit requires utmost efficiency when it comes to seeding, harvesting, and deploying inputs like fertilizers and pesticides – none of which would be possible without the modern day, state of the art tractors, implements, and technologies.
If you’re interested in seeing the latest and greatest in agriculture equipment Agri-Trade is November 8th to 11th and if not, you’ll at least know why the roads, restaurants, hotels, and shopping centres are all much busier than normal!