Glacier FarmMedia, parent company of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS), is purchasing 100 acres, the current site of the show, from the province.
The purchase will enable the company to establish Discovery Farm Woodstock, to provide COFS with a permanent home and create a centre for applied agriculture research.
The land had been owned by the Agriculture Research Institute of Ontario, which manages research lands in the province, including those run by the Universiity of Guelph and had been leased by the show.
Why it matters: Housing development has reached the edge of the show site and this purchase will assure that the site will remain in its current use, protecting investments made at the site by the sector and COFS.
Bob Willcox, president of Glacier FarmMedia says the site will “showcase farmer-led and industry-partnered research with the goal of transferring in-field research to farmers.”
The centrepiece of the plan is to develop a centre for soil health at the site, aiming to bring “the agriculture community together under one roof” to address the issue.
“Our intention with Discovery Farm Woodstock is to bring together key players from industry and science to find practical solutions to the key questions facing farmers today,” says Willcox.
Willcox also mentioned a partnership with Grain Farmers of Ontario to help create a student demonstration farm at the site, which would include classroom and workshop space.
Glacier FarmMedia has developed similar research and education facilities at its Ag In Motion farm show site in Saskatchewan, known as Discovery Farm Langham.
Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was at the site to make the announcement and says the proposed sale will ensure COFS will continue to be able to grow and said more of the research station land in the area could be sold to Glacier FarmMedia in the future, as it is needed. The site has historically been a University of Guelph research farm.
OFA President Keith Currie said, “This is great news for our membership and will secure this site for ongoing research and investment.”
Glacier FarmMedia announced last year that it had acquired a farm across the road from the show.
Willcox said the work of many people went into the proposed sale including local and provincial politicians and bureaucrats, University of Guelph officials and Glacier FarmMedia employees, including Lillie Ann Morris who, with farmer Bob Kerr, helped fund the creation of the Soils @ Guelph initiative at the University of Guelph and encouraged the establishment of a soil health centre at the new Discovery Farm Woodstock.