The Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association is finalizing plans for this year's Ottawa Valley Farm Show, a trade exhibition organized annually by farmers for farmers and other rural residents.
Association directors met in Kemptville Jan. 16 to review details of the 2006 show to be held March 14, 15, and 16 at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. This edition will mark the 79th farm show which dates back to Renfrew County where it started as a much smaller seed growing competition. While seed judging is still an important part of the show - including a growers' Hall of Honour and an awards ceremony on the final day - the show now contains row upon row of the latest farm equipment on display, along with exhibitors offering every conceivable product and service to the farm and rural market.
"We're looking forward to another excellent show," said OVSGA president Keith Matthie, an Algonquin-area dairy farmer. "Times have been tough in Canadian agriculture... but producers still have to look ahead and the show is one of the places that helps them do that."
In addition, Matthie said, farmers and their families use the opportunity to socialize and discuss plans for the new season with friends and neighbours at the tail end of a long winter: "The show is held a little more than a month away from spring planting... there's anticipation in the air."
This year, the show lands in the March school break, making it an ideal outing into the city for rural parents and their children. While it's an adult-oriented trade show, there are some animals on hand and enough tractors and equipment, and other interesting displays to keep children intrigued for a couple of hours, especially any budding farmers in the family, said general manager Tom VanDusen.
"Admission is $6 for adults and kids under 12 get in free," VanDusen said. "It's far cheaper and a heck of a lot more educational than taking the family to, say, a movie theatre."
As usual, VanDusen said, more than 300 inside exhibitor spaces are filling up fast. However, there is some availability. "I urge anyone who has thought of exhibiting at the farm show in the past to get their applications in now. Call Sue at 613-445-0353 to book a space."