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Focus Fits Southern Alberta

Trade show humming with people.

With the move to Lethbridge Exhibition Park, Farming Smarter Conference & Trade Show 2017 had a whole new feel to it. Participants had elbow room, networking spaces close to the action or away from the crowd and the Trade Show stood on its own as a place to linger and learn. 

While all the presenters did a fantastic job bringing new information useful to area farmers and agronomists, a couple of the presenters stood out as riveting.

Jonathan Gill of Harper Adams University gave a fast-paced and captivating presentation about the Hands Free Hectare project he leads in the United Kingdom. This was the first year the project produced a crop from seed to bin without a single person stepping into the field. Watch some videos here.

Aaron Pritchett put on a great acoustic performance for conference delegates.

Our own Farming Smarter staff shared a wealth of knowledge from our field work related to corn, canola, wheat, pulses, hail recovery and hemp. We do a lot of research and demonstrations on our Lethbridge and Cypress County sites making our staff increasingly knowledgeable – Farming Smarter every year!

We had some great entertainment on the evening of day one to give our out of town guests something better to do than watch TV in a hotel. And it was MUCH better! Local vocalist Jessica Schnell amazed the crowd with her strong voice and Aaron Pritchett put on a great acoustic performance. 

Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society.


Joe Schwarcz PhD caught our attention on day two with his Farm Fairy Tales presentation that looked deeply into the chemical questions around food, crop production and protection. We know as a farming community that there is a great deal of confusion  about chemicals for urban and rural populations alike. Joe is also an amateur conjurer and often spices up his presentations with a little magic. Here he makes a rope act like a steel rod at the end of his presentation at Farming Smarter’s 2017 Lethbridge conference & trade show.


We also had an update from the Oldman Watershed Council that included local response to their round table discussions and the story-telling they plan to encourage based on what they heard. They asked participants that want to tell their farm/land stories to a bigger audience to get in touch with them.

Brian Innes leads the government relations activities including trade policy, market access and regulatory affairs.

Brian Innes, Canola Council of Canada, shared his insight from monitoring the NAFTA negotiations, the Trans Pacific Partnership and Canadian negotiations with China. Canada, and agriculture, has much at stake in all these negotiations. It was good to hear where we stand at the moment and what might come in the near future.


Brian is a research scientist developing innovative and integrated crop management systems with AAFC in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Several Alberta professionals brought news about farm profits, business planning, insects, weed resistance & management and possible tax changes. Our speakers touched on every aspect of running a successful farm today and into the coming years. Including Dr. Brian Beres who discussed the underlying components that drive yield – genetics, environment and management with a focus on wheat. 




Our 4H auction raised $8,193 for Southern Region 4H.

A live and a silent auction raised funds.

As always, young 4H speakers from around the Southern Region reminded us that farm youth are ready for whatever the future throws at us and some of them will, no doubt, shape that future.

Jessie Ferguson of Taber District taught conference delegates about paratack, although she may be more talented at it than some of us.







Wayne Lindwall (left) presented Ron Svanes (right) with the Orville Yanke award recognizing Ron’s decades of dedication to farm research in southern Alberta.

This year we honored Ron Svanes with the Orville Yanke award that recognizes a person that contributed a great deal to conservation farming. Ron Svanes is a pioneer in that aspect and continues to contribute even though he retired (a bit). The Svanes family hosted many a farm tour, research project and/or trial over the decades.

 As is our custom and intention, the Farming Smarter Team delivered two days of presentations, trade show and networking that offer southern Alberta farmers and agronomists the best information specific to our region.

We thank all our sponsors, trade show companies and participants for making it a great year. 

Our 2017 sponsors!