Ag in Motion outdoor farm show going online instead for 2020

Showrunners plan free 'Ag in Motion Discovery Plus' online event

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Glacier FarmMedia’s summer farm show Ag in Motion is coming in from the outdoors to operate in cyberspace for 2020.

The event — which was due to run July 21-23 at the Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm on Highway 16 west of Langham, Sask., about 40 km northwest of Saskatoon — has been rebranded for 2020 as Ag in Motion Discovery Plus, and will run online from July 21 to 25.

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The show is now billed as “a digital event that will deliver interactive content from the field, giving participants a unique vantage point to see equipment and agricultural technology in a way they haven’t been able to before.”

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, show organizers have decided the Discovery Farm site “cannot safely open” to over 30,000 guests expected to attend the event, Glacier FarmMedia said Thursday in a release. Attendees who have already bought tickets online for the outdoor show are to receive refunds “in the coming weeks.”

“We considered such things as limiting group sizes within the show site, distributing hand sanitizer to every attendee, ramping up cleaning protocols, and more, but when it came down to it, the risk is too high for our guests and staff,” AiM show director Rob O’Connor said in the company’s release.

O’Connor said the new online version of Ag in Motion is to provide “elements” of the outdoor show, which has operated each summer at the Langham site since 2015.

Demonstrations and other features are to be hosted or moderated by a team of Glacier FarmMedia journalists. Equipment demos will feature air seeders and tillage equipment through a video series highlighting each piece, organizers said, and a machinery expert will get behind the wheel of high-clearance sprayers and UTVs for “a digital Ride and Drive experience.”

The online event is also expected to include “knowledge-based” sessions as well as “livestock central,” crop plots, product launches as well as “contests, chats, show specials and other ways to interact with agricultural companies and other farmers.”

At 512 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, including 312 recoveries, Saskatchewan has the fifth-lowest COVID-19 load of Canada’s provinces. Of those 512 cases, 163 were in the Saskatoon area.

As per the Saskatchewan government’s April 23 pandemic plan for a phased-in reopening of business, some services such as dentistry, optometry and physiotherapy and “low-risk” activities such as boating were allowed to resume Monday, in the first phase of a five-phase re-opening plan. Golf and other “outdoor individual recreation” are to be permitted starting May 15.

Non-grocery retailers, shopping malls and services such as massage therapy, hairdressing and acupuncture are to be allowed to reopen May 19 in Phase 2.

But the province’s plan does not allow for resumption of public or private gatherings beyond the current limit of 10 people until Phase 3, or of more than 15 until Phase 4, or of more than 30 until Phase 5. No hard date has yet been set for any of Phases 3 through 5.

Some other major summer events, including Canada’s Farm Show and the Mosaic 2020 cultural festival in Regina and the Saskatoon Fringe Festival, have also postponed or been cancelled.

GFM, meanwhile, is continuing with plans to host its other major outdoor ag event, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show at Woodstock, Ont. on Sept. 15-17. The company said it’s still monitoring daily updates from public health officials and will “adjust as necessary.”

Next year’s edition of Ag in Motion is scheduled for July 20-22, 2021. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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