BACK TO THE FUTURE
CATCH A GLIMPSE OF WHAT THE FUTURE OF FARMING HOLDS
BY GRIFFIN ELLIOT
The first ever FutureFarm Canada Expo, organized by dmg events in partnership with the historic Olds College, will be held this July.
“We had a vision to try and develop something new for central Alberta that focused on the future of farming,” said Wes Scott, executive vice-president at dmg events.
According to Scott, the trade show will use Olds College’s unique facilities— which are equipped for everything from meat packing to brewing to growing crops for exhibitor demonstrations—to dissect the future of farming, while taking aim at innovation, precision and the new generation of young farmers who will be the mainstays of Canadian agriculture for many years to come.
“Having it out at Olds College gives us an opportunity to add a lot of educational elements and focus on that millennial farmer,” he said.
Scott added that, as an added bonus, the partnership with Olds College and the show’s summer timing make it possible for exhibitors and visitors to stay in student accommodations at the college for a reasonable price.
Olds College president Tom Thompson was quick to get onboard with the idea for the FutureFarm Canada Expo, Scott said. “They have a lot of the infrastructure and facilities that we needed and an appetite to deliver that educational content, and we’re a large event organizer that’s accustomed to organizing large-scale events. So it was a bit of a marriage made in heaven.”
Tanya McDonald, vice-president of advancement at Olds College, shared Scott’s sentiment that the partnership between the college and dmg events made perfect sense, and expressed her hope that the show will be more than a one-time event.
“The opportunity here at Olds College is really that whole farm-to-fork approach— we can showcase production right through to the process and the enjoyment of the food experience,” McDonald said. “We’re really excited about how it connects with our current programs and how we can integrate students over the long run in enjoying and learning and participating in this event, which will hopefully become an annual event.”
The FutureFarm Canada Expo is scheduled for July 6 to 8, overlapping with the first few days of the Calgary Stampede, but the organizers are hoping that the timing will actually work out in their favour.
“We always wanted to be close to the Calgary Stampede because we felt there was an opportunity to work with their International Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee to host a number of international groups at the Calgary Stampede,” Scott said. “The idea that we can work with that group to bring delegations into Olds so that they can meet with farm producers from Alberta, as well as see some of the different innovation being developed in agriculture, seemed to be a win-win for us.
“Then reversing that, we saw great opportunities for people that are coming from outside of town to actually stay at the venue,” he added. “They can even bring their campers in to stay at the campsite and then we can put the families on buses and take them to the Calgary Stampede so they can have a bit of a family getaway, as well as attending FutureFarm Canada.”