Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week History

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.

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 about 1300 people in attendance over the course of the 7 day event. Typically, Crops Day accounts for 22% of the attendance, Beef Day, 22%, and Dairy Day, 20%. Typically, about ¾ of the audience are from Grey Bruce, and the remainder comes 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 interested producers across the province and beyond our borders. Producers were able to watch the content live, and for several weeks following the event. Here’s an example of the Live Stream content  In 2021 the conference moved to an entirely virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently GBFW is planning for a second virtual year (2022), with the option to pivot to an in-person format if public health guidelines allow. A decision regarding this will be made in September.

The GBFW committee would like to thank the technology sponsors for our virtual event: Trillium Mutual Insurance, and FCC.

And now…

In 2022, GBFW will be a 7 day agricultural conference featuring a program dedicated to each of the major commodity groups in Grey and Bruce counties and far beyond.  Everyone from anywhere is encouraged to check out and participate in this incredible conference.

Our week will kick off with Check Your Tech Tuesday, which is a new addition for 2022. It is free with the purchase of any other commodity day’s ticket, and is an opportunity to log on and get comfortable with the conference platform while listening to some great speakers!  Check out the schedule for Check Your Tech Tuesday under the ‘Event’ tab. 

Please note that Horse Day will not be running in 2022. Unfortunately, with the switch to a virtual format in 2021 we saw a large drop in attendance, and cannot justify the same for a second year. We will look forward to bringing it back in 2023 when we can be in person once more!

GBFW is co-ordinated by Grey County Agricultural Services in Markdale, with the outstanding support of the rural organizations (GBFW Committee) in Grey and Bruce counties.  Current executive:

Chair: Joanne Hughes                  Past Chair:  Mike Ryan                 1st Vice Chair: Deb Campbell                2nd Vice Chair: Rob Kirkconnell

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.  The volunteers get a well deserved year off, as GBFW goes virtual in 2021.  Rest up friends.

GBFW has an excellent track record of organizing well attended, informative conferences.

The event usually takes place in Elmwood Ontario, at the Elmwood Community Centre, located approximately 1 mile west of the flashing amber light.  However, in 2022 the event will be presented online, and you can view it from the comfort of your office chair, sofa, tractor seat – you choose.  Plus, January snowstorms will not affect this new online option!

There are approximately 65 speakers from across the province, Canada and the U.S.  Plus, in 2021, the GBFW committee is excited to announce that they have booked a Sheep Day speaker from the UK, and another from New Zealand.

Each day includes a producer panel where producers can learn from their peers.

Andrew Campbell - the Fresh Air Farmer, spoke at Beef Day GBFW18

GBFW has an extremely loyal group of Sponsors who enthusiastically support our event. They have risen to the occasion to support GBFW as they move to this virtual platform.  This support means a great deal as GBFW ventures into totally new territory.  A huge thank you to all of those companies and organizations.

The GBFW Trade Show has been, and will continue to be a very important component of the virtual conference. Conference participants are encouraged to visit the Virtual Trade Show, see what each booth has to offer, and speak to the exhibitors during the daily 2 hour exhibitor showcase windows.

table full of pies

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 also offered in addition to the roast beef. The amazing pies are simply incredible!

Sadly, the GBFW committee cannot offer these delectable meals during an online event.  This hiatus will heighten our anticipation of these meals when we can safely return to our normal in-person event.