Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week returns to in-person format

ELMWOOD – “We’re back to in-person,” said Lorie Smith of Grey County Agricultural Services, of Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week, Jan. 4-10, 2023.

What’s been called the best agricultural conference, returns for its 57th consecutive year in 2023, at the Elmwood Community Centre. Those unable to attend in-person can still access the information by livestreaming it.

Smith added, “Virtual for the past two years was fantastic, but it’s not the same as in-person. It will be really lovely to return to in-person, all the sights and sounds – and smells.” The scent of those roast-beef dinners definitely added a special appeal to the in-person events of the past.

The seven-day conference starts with Beef Day, followed by Dairy, Goat, Sheep, Horse (yes, Horse Day is back!), Ecological and Crops Day. Smith noted each of the seven days is packed with an impressive and informative line-up of speakers, in addition to the always-popular forums and question-and-answer sessions.

The co-ordinators for this event, Grey County Ag Services, in conjunction with agricultural commodity leaders from Grey and Bruce counties, look forward to seeing producers, agribusiness professionals, and industry experts gather together after two years of airing the conference virtually. They anticipate a stellar event with strong support from sponsors and exhibitors, as well as lots of enthusiasm from the audience. Not to be forgotten, the return of the in-person event also brings the return of the excellent hot roast beef meal! Goat and lamb will be served on their respective days, and pies will line dessert tables once more. Networking is always better when done over dinner!

New this year: whether audience members purchase tickets for livestreaming or in-person attendance, all will be given access to conference recordings for a 30-day span post-event. Producers can make use of this “Encore Access” in order to catch up on pieces that they may have missed, or to recap information that they found especially useful.

In addition to Encore Access for the live presentations, audience members will also find available 21 “On Demand” presentations. These are pre-recorded and available for watching on the attendee’s own time, from home. Topics covered are broad, and access to all 21 presentations are included with tickets purchases for any day of the week. This roughly triples the content available to the GBFW audience.

The program will be strong as ever in 2023. Keynote speakers include the following:

On Beef Day, Dr. Jordan Thomas, cow-calf specialist from the University of Missouri, will deliver The ‘Silent Killer’ of Cow-Calf Profitability.

On Dairy Day, Mike Hutjens, Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana, will present Strategies with High Feed Prices.

On Goat and Sheep Days, Dr. Robert Van Saun, Professor and Extension Veterinarian from Pennsylvania State University, will share Understanding Colostrum Quality and Passive Transfer and Pregnancy Toxemia and Milk Fever in Goats and Sheep.

On Horse Day, Dr. Wendy Pearson, Associate Professor – Equine Physiology from the University of Guelph, will delve into Leaky Gut Syndrome in Horses.

On Ecological Day, Dr. Vicky Levesque, Research Scientist – Soil Health, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will explore Biochar: Ancient “Black Gold” Amendment Method May Improve Agricultural Soil Health of Today.

On Crops Day: Andrew Pritchard, Senior Meteorologist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, will dig into Disruptive Weather Patterns in Production Agriculture and Weather Outlook.

Many, many more excellent speakers fill out the schedules for each day, as well as panel discussions covering (by order of the day they appear) ROI on Grazing Cover Crops, Robotic Milking Systems: Past, Present and Future, Culling Tips for Goat Farms, Outwintering Sheep, My Must Haves for Horse Management, All About Cover Crops, and The Fourth Crop – Winter Canola, Winter Barley and Edible Beans.

Smith drew attention to the fact that there are three sessions, marked with an asterisk on the brochure, that are OSCIA-recognized Knowledge Sharing Events for Ontario On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) applicants. (Check OSCIA’s website for information about the applicable program categories.)

Livestreaming tickets must be pre-purchased online. It is recommended that attendees purchase in-person tickets online as well.

For those unable to do so, cash, cheque and debit will be accepted at the door.

Smith said the registration fee has increased, but there are plenty of “value-added” items to balance the increase. There’s a lot more content accessible to attendees. Registration price (online required for livestreaming, recommended for in person attendance) is $50 per day including HST or $120 for three days. Livestreamers can purchase the content for the whole week for $180.

More information about Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week’s program and tickets is available on their website: www.gbfw.ca. People may also email info@greyagservices.ca or call 519-986-3756.

The GBFW planning committee would like to thank the generous sponsors! The full list is on our brochure, or on the website (www.gbfw.ca).

“Seven days of a lot of interaction will be great!” said Smith.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times