From seeds to success

In 1983, a visionary idea took root and has since flourished into an annual pilgrimage to Saskatoon for prairie grain producers. The Western Canadian Crop Production Show, now spanning over four decades, has not only captivated local farmers but has also become a beacon for global agricultural experts keen on cutting-edge technology.

Written by Traycee Martens, Marketing Manager

The Western Canadian Crop Production Show hit the mark in its inaugural year. Prairieland’s then agriculture manager, Michael Fleury, aimed to attract 75 exhibitors to a new show that would focus on every aspect of grain production, including information on seeding, soil types, input requirements, and equipment. The response surpassed expectations, selling out the 40,000 sq ft Jubilee Building with 12 more companies waiting on a cancellation list.

Market conditions ripe for growth

The show’s fortuitous timing, bringing producers and manufacturers together early in the year, proved beneficial for both parties. Farmers sought concrete answers to their questions, while businesses came armed with solutions, allowing producers to make informed decisions for the upcoming season. The show doubled in size to 80,000 sq ft by its third year, drawing some 7,000 visitors. The Crop Production Show soon became a testament to Saskatchewan’s ingenuity, showcasing products born not only from engineering expertise but also from the sheer determination to address industry needs.

Beyond the traditional tools of the trade, attendees sought to network, gather market information, and explore the latest agriculture technologies. The show’s themes evolved with industry trends, addressing topics like diversification in response to bumper crops, grain marketing, and precision farming. In 2020, supply chain demand and mental health on the farm took center stage.

The changing prairie landscape

The show’s success prompted the expansion of Prairieland’s facilities. By 1994, the show had outgrown the buildings prompting the enclosure of the space between the Wheatland A and Wheatland B buildings, creating center hall. In 1997, the new trade center was constructed and Hall D increased capacity even more — show organizers had no trouble filling the space. Less than 10 years later, the old Jubilee building was demolished and replaced with Hall E, adding yet another 58,000 sq ft. bringing the total trade show area in the complex to over 200,000 sq ft. all of which was easily filled by the demand.

Despite the decline in the overall number of producers that tend to Saskatchewan’s 45 million acres of farmland, the demand for creative solutions to manage expansive operations remained steady, positioning the show as a catalyst for technological advances.

Courtesy of Geoff Wilson

A ground-breaking effect on the local economy

Not only has the Crop Production Show had a long-term effect on Saskatchewan’s reputation as a leader in the industry, it has also had an economic impact on Saskatoon. As far back as 1998, the show attracted enough visitors to garner $5 million in direct and immediate benefits to the city. Hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls all register massive revenue increases during Crop Production Week, starting each new year off in the right fiscal direction.

Taking the pulse of the patrons

Maintaining its success relies on the meticulous curation of the trade show, with every display chosen to help grain growers optimize their yields. Exhibitors value the face-to-face interactions with the show’s highly qualified audience, understanding the importance of connecting with potential customers. The show has become a professional development event for growers, offering a prime opportunity for businesses to showcase their products when buyers are ready to make capital purchase decisions.

Photo courtesy of Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Looking beyond the horizon

As the Western Canadian Crop Production Show continues to help shape Saskatchewan’s farming history, Prairieland’s commitment to the grain sector remains unwavering. This flagship event not only celebrates past successes but also anticipates a future where agriculture and technology converge to drive innovation and prosperity even higher. The story is still being written, with each passing year another chapter in the legacy of the Western Canadian Crop Production Show.

The Western Canadian Crop Production Show runs every January at Prairieland. You can follow the show on Twitter or Facebook to learn more about this year’s show and to find information about upcoming events. To view the website, click here: