A record number of people attended the 34th annual St. Jean Farm Days.
The event took place Jan. 9 and 10 and organizers says the St. Jean Community Hall was packed with 175 people the first day, and 120 the second. This total didn’t even include the representatives from the 60 commercial exhibits on the trade show floor.
Maybe it was the great weather or the variety of professional speakers that brought the numbers up.
Or perhaps it was the generous number of door prizes and the decades old entry fee of only $6 a person, but this year’s attendance is definitely one for the record books.
Every year, the event draws producers from across the region to hear information on a variety of agricultural topics, ranging from grain markets and soil salinity, to sprayer issues and crop economics.
Lunch breaks were extended this year, to allow more time for visiting the various exhibits, and give producers a chance to share their experiences and their wisdom with one another.
The Knights of Columbus served up big kettles of nutritious soups and homemade sandwiches, as they have since 1986. On both days, the much-anticipated signature pea soup was completely gone by the end of the lunch break.
The conference room was packed, and some attendees even had to stand during a few of the 45 minute information sessions. Speakers were fielded with questions from producers following each session.
The trade show floor was also crowded, as visitors checked out the variety of products and services offered by agricultural companies at each booth.
Some of the businesses, such as Wentworth Ag, were set up at the event for the first time.
The business is based out of Winkler, selling and servicing grain storage equipment such as hoppers and dryers.
Sales representative Jesse Williams said he was surprised by how many people attended Farm Days.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect before I got here. It’s a really neat experience. For a smaller show in comparison to something like Brandon Ag Days, there’s actually quite a bit of traffic. It’s nice to see so many local people. It’s almost like a family reunion for farmers.”
It was the first time at Farm Days for Rocky Mountain Equipment sales consultant Dean Radford.
The Case dealership is based out of Steinbach, and Radford said it was definitely worth the trip.
“It’s good to be a part of this, because it draws so many producers from across Southern Manitoba.”
He added that the event is a great way to build clientele, but also gives ag businesses a chance to touch base with producers they haven’t had a chance to talk to before. “There’s a lot of competition out there, so this is a valuable event when it comes to raising awareness of what products you offer.”