After a two-year pandemic interruption, the Chatham Kent Farm Show is back at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre.
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“I’m very excited. I’m beyond ecstatic,” said Courtney Brochu, owner of OP Show Productions. “We’re at the point where I don’t even care if I make a dollar. I only care that it’s going on.”
Brochu was a bookkeeper for Stuart Galloway, owner of 20/20 Show Productions, who launched the event in 2014 to highlight southwestern Ontario suppliers and companies and provide producers with networking opportunities.
“We were very good friends, and I kept talking about the farming industry…(and) bringing ideas to the table,” Brochu said, adding she farms 115 acres of beans and wheat.
Galloway suggested she would be an ideal candidate to run the show. The Stoney Point farmer pitched the idea to her husband, J.P., and they bought the show.
Brochu was gearing up for 2021 show planning when COVID-19 hit. She was optimistic the 2022 show would move forward without a hitch until Chatham-Kent notified her that they needed the venue for virus testing and vaccination clinics.
It hasn’t been financially easy to carry the show’s loan through the pandemic, but Brochu said her bank and exhibitors were incredibly compassionate.
“They really do care about this show because it’s been two years, and I want to say a good 70 per cent of them left their money with me and trusted me with it, knowing that the show was going on.”
Small productions like the Chatham Kent Farm Show give small businesses great representation and bring the surrounding communities together.
“Local farmers get their prices, their deals for the upcoming season (at the show),” said Brochu. “It’s a great opportunity to purchase your product before and get that discount.”
As of Dec. 14, there were approximately 85 exhibitors. She’d like to see the numbers reach 100 or better, but acknowledges this is a rebuilding year for the event. Brochu said she hadn’t changed the format besides incorporating a tour of Greenfield Global, Chatham’s ethanol plant.
The plant encapsulates how agri- culture affects several industries by creating energy, food and beverage products, and feed for livestock producers. Brochu said farmers rarely have access to an in-depth tour of the facility, which gives an edge to the show.
The speakers feature corn specialists Greg Stewart and Chuck Belanger, who will discuss big corn yields in a dry year and lessons to use going forward.
Moe Agostino, commodity risk management and marketing expert will provide insight on conquering volatility and assessing the market.
Pierre Migner, Agro 100 Ltd. research and development director, will dive into the impacts of stress on plants. Migner will also touch on Agro 100’s Oligo Prime, a bio-stimulant technology aimed at enhancing a plant’s natural defences against abiotic stresses and activating growth.
Andres Hurtado, a co-founder of Terranova UAV, an agriculture drone service, is a must-see on drone technology and its potential applications to reduce farmer’s costs and emissions while increasing yields.
Brochu is confident the ethanol plant tour and speaker series will entice people to pay the $10 entrance fee.
“We upped our prices to $10, but $2 will be going towards the AgScape in memory of Ethan,” said Brochu.
Ethan Spada, 2, was killed in a motor vehicle crash in November 2021. The boy had a great love of agriculture and spent time on Brochu’s farm, so it seemed fitting that donations to AgScape, a program that provides factual, science-based agriculture and food learning programs to students, would honour Spada.
“That’s something new and exciting, and I hope to carry on every year that I have the Farm Show,” she said.