by George Fullerton
Every two years, the Atlantic Farm Mechanization Show comes along like a biennial rite of spring at the Moncton Coliseum. The show is an opportunity to check out the latest in agricultural technology, meet manufacturer reps and sales teams, and get caught up with friends from across the region.
There are always new personalities with new and innovative products. Often, the show is an opportunity to meet the person who took a new idea and guided it through development and manufacturing, and brought it to the show for farmers to see and imagine how it might work for their operation. The show is often a place where deals are made.
This year, it was held from Thursday, March 7 through Saturday, March 9.
DvL Publishing, which issues Farm Focus and Rural Delivery among other publications, again produced the show guide. To the best of DvL Publishing founder Dirk van Loon’s memory, DvL produced the guide for the first time for the second Farm Mech Show.
Current DvL publisher Chassity Allison held down the traditional DvL booth space. For this show, she was breaking in a new support crew, her children Cooper and Allie. They were busy Thursday morning, arranging piles of magazines and show guides, and handing them out, as well as offering guidance to visitors unfamiliar with the geography of the complex.
Allison also took time to talk to admirers of DvL’s many publications and help folks who took advantage of the one-on-one opportunity to renew subscriptions.
“The show had a very positive vibe,” said Allison. “We thought the first two days might have been a bit slow, but the mainline tractor dealers reported that they met their targets early on in the show. Our sales team had positive reports and were selling advertisements at the show as well.”
The parking lot was nearly full by 10:30 a.m. on opening day, which was apparently time enough for many farmers to get chores done or assigned and make the trip from across the Maritimes. The floors were fully occupied with booths and there was plenty of foot traffic. It was a challenge to take photos without an arm or leg or back suddenly entering the composition.
Peter de Graaf has attended numerous Farm Mech Shows as a representative for Anderson bale wrappers.
“The organization of the show was better than ever,” said de Graaf. “Loading in seemed to go very well with no problems. There seemed to be fewer folks who were not farmers stopping in. On Friday, in particular, a lot of folks stopped by to share that they owned an Anderson piece of equipment and how well it was working for them.”
He said that it’s always good to hear from users who are happy with a piece of equipment, but hard to sell them a new one if the old one is working so well.
Leonard Fraser, a territory manager with fencing product company Gallagher, counted the 2019 Farm Mech Show as his 12th. He said it was a very good show and he was fully occupied running his booth.
“We design fence systems for everything from chickens to keeping bears out of bees, so we have people interested in different things,” said Fraser. “Gallagher has added livestock waterers, tag readers, and scales to the product line, so there are even more products for people to check on. I got a lot of good prospects and I will follow up on them over the next year and make some new customers. Having the show every two years increases visitors’ interest at the show because they are not seeing it every year. Load in and load out went great. If you are well prepared, load in and load out typically goes smoothly.”
David Dykstra, a livestock specialist with New Brunswick’s agriculture department, is also a Farm Mech Show director. He reported that attendance was up slightly from the last show, at just over 10,000.
“The 2019 show went really well and we had good feedback from exhibitors,” said Dykstra. “Unfortunately, some potential exhibitors who wanted in the show couldn’t be fit because exhibitor space was sold out.”
Dykstra said there was plenty of Twitter traffic leading up to the show, which helped build momentum for the event. He said that the board of directors will look at strategies to maintain the momentum for the next show, adding that it’s critical that the Farm Mech Show remain relevant as the industry and technology change.
Arnold Beyer has been a member of the Farm Mech Show board of directors since 2007. He said many exhibitors told him that the 2019 show was better than ever, adding that he was delighted to see a good number of new exhibitors.
The 2019 Farm Mech Show was the first for Bob Lachance, who introduced his “Bob Shear” tree shear which he manufactures in Saint-Georges, Que.
“The Farm Mechanization Show was very successful for us,” said Lachance. “We sold one machine right off the floor. The organization of the show was very good. The load in and load out went very smoothly and fast. We will definitely be back for the next show.”