Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ottawa Valley Farm Show highlights latest technology and techniques in Canadian farming

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As spring ushers in a new season, farmers across eastern Ontario and western Quebec are preparing to plant the crops crucial to our communities and country.

The Ottawa Valley Farm Show, a cornerstone event for the agricultural industry, not only celebrates the achievements of local farmers but also showcases the latest agricultural products and technologies essential for sustaining industry growth.

Caitlin Allen, a recent graduate of farm management technology at McGill University, aspires to one day own a dairy farm, but knows that passion and hard work are just part of the puzzle. Innovation is crucial.

“We have a lot of increased regulations with the environment and with the livestock as well,” she says. “Automation for sure will help the production help increase yields but as well as reduce the workload.”

Experts gather at the EY Centre for three days to exchange insights and explore the latest advancements in farming techniques and equipment.

Ottawa Valley Farm Show coordinator Arlene Ross says the event, with more than 360 exhibitors, covers all facets of farming.

“There’s a lot of business transactions that happen here with people making seed purchases, vehicle purchases, equipment purchases, et cetera,” she says. “When it comes to farming, there’s the field work, there is the barn work with the livestock, there’s the accounting side of things, the insurance side of things, and keeping up with current technology — everything from nutrient management to GPS management. More and more you need to adjust to that because you can’t get the people to work anymore. So you’ve got to figure out how to farm with the technology that can help you adjust for that.”

The farming industry is under rapid change with pressure of economic instability, war, and a labour shortage. Barry Dean, president of Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association, applauds the hard work by those in agriculture.

“Young people now have to commit; it’s seven days a week. You got to deal with weather, you got to deal with a lot of interest rates, everything, carbon taxes so, you know, it is a quite a commitment to be a farmer nowadays,” he says. “We’re very proud of young people that stay in the industry and that’s why we have this show to help keep people in the industry.”

The event also showcases the traditional seed, feed, and forage competition hosted by the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association, featuring top entries from the region, underscoring the dedication of local families to providing Canadians with high-quality food.

Two auction events, including Vintage Iron and Traditions of Eastern Ontario’s Toy Auction, will take place on Wednesday, followed by the 32nd Annual Prestigious Pedigreed Seed Auction on Thursday. There is also speakers covering various topics throughout the event.

The Ottawa Valley Farm Show is at EY Centre from March 12-14. Parking is free. Tickets are $12 online or $15 at the door, with free admission for children 12 and under. 

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