Farmfair becoming a venue for high-end genetics sales

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Edmonton’s annual celebration of western heritage, rodeo and agriculture returns this week. Farmfair International and the Canadian Finals Rodeo are the two feature events of the River City Round Up Festival, held throughout Edmonton from Nov. 4 to 11.

“It continues to be one of Canada’s top agricultural shows. We expect to have 93,000 guests come into Northlands Edmonton Expo Centre to see the show and top-quality livestock,” said Richard Andersen, president and chief executive officer of Northlands.

This year, Farmfair will be welcoming international guests from the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Russia and Brazil, as well as local ranchers. The fair is an opportunity for guests to show, sell and buy top-rated livestock and agriculture-related products. Dave Fiddler, show manager, said Farmfair International is attracting a higher level of international visitor.

“We’re not huge in our number of international visitors, but we’ve got in-country ambassadors in Australia, Brazil and Mexico who are representing Farmfair internationally and they’re bringing qualified buyers to the show, representing a significant international business component. This is attracting a very sophisticated Canadian exhibitor that is positioned well to do export,” he said.

Outside the ring

Farmfair will continue to present cattle and equine shows, competitions and clinics. This year, Farmfair hosts the Canadian National Lowline Show as well as the Western Canadian National Hereford Show.

This year’s newest marketing opportunity is Cattle Drive, which provides producers the opportunity to promote and display their genetics outside of the traditional show ring. Herd sires, offspring and featured genetics will be on display.

Guests at Farmfair can also check out the stock dog competition, alpaca show, team penning and the Heritage Ranch rodeo. Farmfair celebrates 4-H day, which features a number of activities including a commercial bred heifer viewing and judging, a workshop on livestock photography and a canine presentation.

Fiddler says a genomics showcase will feature the latest in the genomics technology and show visitors where the technology is heading. “Producers can take that technology and turn it into profit,” said Fiddler. “I’m really excited about what that might mean to them.”

Rodeo

The Canadian Finals Rodeo runs from November 7 to 11 and brings together top competitors in major events while showcasing the best bucking stock and rodeo animals, said Les McIntyre, one of the rodeo announcers with CFR. Top rodeo contestants will compete in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, ladies barrel racing, saddle bronc riding and bull riding and take away $1.4 million in prizes.

Farmfair and the Canadian Finals Rodeo are now seen as the signature events of a larger, city-wide festival called the River City Round Up. The event has been around for eight or nine years, but has only been affiliated with Northlands for two years.

“At the request of the mayor and the city, we took on a leadership role with it,” explained Andersen. For the complete schedule of events visit www.farmfair.ca.

About the author

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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