Ag in Motion farming expo still swathing away despite COVID-19 pandemic

The annual Ag in Motion show concluded on Saturday after going virtual for the first time because of COVID-19.

Every year thousands of people, particularly farmers from across the province and Western Canada ascend on the Discovery Farm.

Just outside of Langham, Sask., (30 minutes west of Saskatoon) lies the location for the annual Ag in Motion event.

Over the past two years, roughly 30,000 visitors have come to the popular event.

Read more: Gardening grows in northwest Saskatchewan during COVID-19 lockdown

Usually, company related to the industry put up vendors for visitors to learn more about their given product. Such as equipment companies, crop protection as well as livestock. There are also countless live demos for people to witness and be apart of.

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Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm Applied Research Blake Weiseth, calls it a one-stop shop for anything farm industry related.

“They can show off the latest and the greatest in the time of what is available in the industry for farmers,” Weiseth said.

“People (are) able to interact with a number of organizations along the entire supply chain in the agriculture sector.”

Weyburn area farmer Jake Leguee has attended the three-day show multiple times. He says there is no other experience quite like it especially if you are a farmer.

“They have a lot of freedom and a lot of latitude to be pretty creative in the different kinds of treatments they can put on different crops there. it is a unique opportunity to learn a couple different things,” said Leguee.

Leguee says the site is massive and there as there is tons to see. He says going with a few specific things you want to see otherwise you will get lost.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they go with an online platform for 2020 edition of the event. Which included a 50-minute webinar that featured experts and allowed for interaction between them and people watching.

Read more: Saskatchewan crops advancing quickly, harvest to begin in the coming weeks

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But, that didn’t stop those involved with the expo from starting on new ideas such as the salinity project. The goal of the project is using select types of grass( forage species) or alfalfa to get rid of high salt levels in the soil from deep within to the root area. Which impedes the ability for a crop to grow.

“Estimates are between six million and 20 million acres are at risk in western Canada,” said Proven Seed Territory Manager in the North Saskatchewan Division Wayne Dobbie.

“With two million acres directly affected today. It’s a huge problem for all temp-it grower regions and for agriculture producers throughout the prairies.”

He says this applies to all areas of Western Canada from southern Manitoba to northern Alberta.

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Dobbie says salinity problems are caused by a number of ways including excess moisture over periods of time, wet cycles, changing of the ways certain practices are carried through in certain areas, or even different crop types.

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“There are many, many factors that can cause salinity to become an issue in the soil.

“The long goal is to show there are environmentally friendly practices that can help not so much regenerate the soil, but at least give a grower return (economically),” said Dobbie.

“Whether that’s left for cattle feed or grazing or even just left alone. At least there is something growing there.”

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Cancelling the show wasn’t an option, as a way was needed to allow for knowledge transfer virtually.

“We want to be a place that creates great content,” Weiseth said.

“We want to create conversations with farmers and people in the industry with the general public.”

Leguee attended the webinar as a panelist. He says it shows a really creative side of the organizers for putting on a virtual event for something that people can actually see even though it isn’t in person.

Weiseth said the virtual format was well-received among people who took part. But, it will be great to hopefully get back to an in-person trade show in 2021.

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