Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week (GBFW) has been a main stay for the agricultural industry in Grey County since 1966. The featured commodities have changed as our agricultural focus has evolved, but the mandate to educate farmers and agribusiness has remained firm. The Trade Show is filled to capacity on most days.
The event usually takes place in Elmwood Ontario, at the Elmwood Community Centre, located approximately 1 mile west of the flashing amber light. However, with the event presented virtually over the past two years, participants were able to view it from the comfort of their office chair, sofa, tractor seat – anywhere they chose. January snowstorms were also not an issue with this new online option!
Over the years, interest in the conference has continued to grow and our reach is extending well beyond our county borders. Most years there are roughly 1300 people in attendance over the course of the seven day event. Typically, Crops Day accounts for 22% of the attendance, Beef Day - 22%, and Dairy Day - 20%. About three quarters of the audience are from Grey-Bruce, and the remainder come from outside that area. Interestingly, the latter number continues to grow.
2018, 2019 and 2020 marked exciting years of technological advancement. 2018 was the first year that GBFW live streamed all 7 days of this fantastic educational content to producers across the province and beyond. Producers were able to watch content live and for several weeks following the event. Here’s an example of the Live Stream content https://youtu.be/sMRfmJv1sg8
In 2021 and 2022 the conference moved to an entirely virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GBFW committee would like to thank technology sponsors for our virtual event: Trillium Mutual Insurance, and FCC, as well as the producers and other agribusiness who continued to show support through two years of virtual programming.
In 2022, GBFW was a 7 day conference featuring a program dedicated to each of the major commodity groups in Grey and Bruce counties. Everyone from anywhere was encouraged to check out and participate in this incredible program.
The week kicked off with Check Your Tech Tuesday (CYTT), which was a new addition for 2022. It was free with the purchase of any other commodity day’s ticket, and was an opportunity to log on and get comfortable with the conference platform while listening to some great speakers! In the morning Senator Rob Black, along with Marty Seymour of FCC presented on the Future of Agriculture. They were followed by Sgt. James Hunter of the OPP with a presentation about Farm Implements on the Roadway. An On-Demand presentation was also available for CYTT, which focused on Mental Health in Agriculture.
Altogether there were 70 speakers who presented over the course of the week. These included panels of local producers as well as guest speakers from across Canada, the U.S. and even the U.K..
Unfortunately, with the switch to a virtual format in 2021 we saw a large drop in Horse Day attendance, and could not justify the same for a second year. As a result, Horse Day was postponed in 2022. We will look forward to bringing it back in 2023 when we can be in person once more!
The GBFW committee would like to thank all of the volunteers that have assisted with set-up, tear down, deliveries, clean-up and registration in past years. These volunteers got a well deserved year off, as GBFW went virtual again. Rest up friends.
GBFW has an extremely loyal group of sponsors who enthusiastically support our event. They rose to the occasion to support GBFW as we moved to a virtual platform. This support meant a great deal as GBFW ventured into totally new territory. A huge thank you to all of those companies and organizations.
Anyone who has attended GBFW in the past knows that a highlight of each day is the scrumptious home style hot roast beef dinner. On Goat and Sheep Days, roast goat and roast lamb are offered in addition to the roast beef. The pies are simply incredible! A big thanks goes to the hard working ladies who cater each year for GBFW. We've missed those meals the past two years and look forward to the days when we can gather around long tables once again.
Grey Bruce Farmers' Week is overseen by a committee and co-ordinated by Grey County Agricultural Services out of Markdale ON.
Event Co-ordinator: Lorie Smith
Assistant: Emily McKague
The Grey Bruce Farmers' Week committee for 2022 & 2023 includes:
Past Chair: Joanne Hughes
Chair: Deb Campbell
1st Vice Chair: Rob Kirkconnell
2nd Vice Chair: Devan Penney
Many local commodity groups also provide input to Grey Bruce Farmers' Week in the form of topic and speaker suggestions. We would like to thank:
The Grey County Dairy Producers Committee
The Bruce County Dairy Producers Committee
The Grey County Beef Farmer's Association
The Bruce County Beef Farmers' Association
District 2 Sheep Farmers
District 3 Sheep Farmers
The Grey County Soil and Crop Improvement Association
The Bruce County Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Grey Local 344 of the National Farmers Union, Ontario
Bruce Local 320 of the National Farmers Union, Ontario
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs