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Show takes it outdoors, where most of the farming is done

The show will feature 750 exhibits, and dozens of demonstrations and speakers geared towards farmers and producers. Top right, John Drummond is a dairy feed specialist with Floradale Feed Mill Ltd., which will be attending the event. [Submitted, Faisal Ali | The Observer]

The best and most innovative of Canada’s vital agricultural industry will be converging in Woodstock next month for the 25th annual Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS). The largest such outdoor event in the country, the show is giving businesses both local and distant the opportunity to reach new markets and promote their wares.

It’s an opportunity, too, for local farmers to see the latest the industry has to offer, as well pick tips on best farm practices.

“We have 750 agriculture exhibitors who are bringing farm equipment, crop input, genetics, agriculture technology, agro-business services like financial services and insurance, livestock equipment, live animals in some cases,” said COFS spokesperson Amanda Macfarlane.

“And they’re bringing that to the show to get in front of farmers who are looking for products or services for their farm.”

For local business Floradale Feed Mill Ltd., which produces formulated farm animal feeds, the show is an opportunity to stay visible with farmers and fellow industry members.

“We’ve been going to the show now since 2001. We find it a great show – it’s a great chance to reconnect with our current clientele and potential clientele, and connect with the industry,” said John Drummond, a dairy feed specialist with the firm. “Every year we go, we always pick up new business from it.”

This year, says Drummond, the company will be showcasing its young livestock feeds, such as their calf starter rations, chick starters and pig starters. The feeds are formulated for farmers to get the most of their livestock, while helping ensure they animals stay healthy.

“We know what makes calves grow, we know what to formulate into a feed to make calves grow, we want to make sure that we have the top quality ingredients to do that,” said Drummond. “If it’s properly formulated, you’ll get optimum growth – or in the case of dairy animals, optimal milk production – so that’s what we’re all about.”

COFS is geared specifically towards farmers and their families, and others in the agriculture business, explains Macfarlane, with an emphasis on live demonstrations and educational seminars.

“This year there’s a tillage demonstration focusing on tackling cornstalks, as well as a variable rate seeding demonstration. And then brand new is going to be the Farmer’s Edge knowledge tent. So this is an educational speaker series for farmers,” she said.

“A lot of what we showcase at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is best seen live in the field, but there are some things you can’t see in a field that are still important to help run a farm, so that’s what the purpose of this knowledge tent area is.”

This year’s keynote address will come from Elaine Froese, a professional speaker, writer and coach who specializes in family farms. Froese will be giving a talk on fairness in farm transition, and succession planning – an ever-important consideration for any family-run business.

“Farms tend to be family businesses that are multi-generations working together, which is a great thing, but it can also present a lot of challenges. So Elaine Froese is an expert in succession planning and farm transition and she will be joining us this year,” said Macfarlane.

Also to feature at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is a demonstration by the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture on electrostatic spraying. The method uses electric charges to help water adhere to plant tissue and is touted with reducing water consumption while increasing coverage. There will be demonstrations on livestock handling, health and wellness seminars, and a new innovation showcase which presents the latest technology available for the farm.

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show will be run September 11-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Canada’s Outdoor Park in Woodstock. Tickets are purchasable at the gate, cash only, and are $20 for adults, and $10 for youth (13- to 17-years-old), and free for children under 13.

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