The annual Grain Millers Harvest Showdown is always one of the most interesting annual events in our community.
The reason the show holds special interest is that it remains an event which has agriculture as its central focus. That singular focus is important as something of a tether between the urban community of Yorkton and the largely rural area the city serves.
It is increasingly easy, even in a small Saskatchewan city, to forget about the significance of farming.
For many the only connection to the agriculture sector is seeing a large combine or tractor on a dealership lot, and not really understanding its on-farm use, or driving by fields as we motor down highway, again often not sure exactly what crop is growing in a particular field.
But farming remains a critical aspect of the city’s economy, and on a larger scale of the economy of the province and of Canada.
When the Yorkton Exhibition Association, (YEA), and Yorkton Chamber of Commerce appeared before Yorkton Council in October asking that the City proclaim the week of Nov. 5-11 Agriculture Week in Yorkton, it was not surprising Council was unanimous in supporting the request.
After all, in making the request Ron Hanischewsky, general manager of YEA noted more than 60 businesses in Yorkton are directly involved in serving the farming and ranching community; and estimated that for every job in the agriculture industry another seven jobs are generated in the economy.
It is of course more than dollars and cents too.
Agriculture puts food on the plate of everybody around the world. It might seem food magically appears on the shelves of grocery stores, but somewhere a farmer has worked hard to grow the food whether it is cattle for hamburgers, or the pears and peas, turnips and cantaloupes we buy for the family table.
That is where Harvest Showdown shines.
Hundreds of students toured through the event having a chance to see up close where their food comes from. That is important knowledge as many people no longer have a direct connection to the farm.
While a special effort is made in terms of educating youth, adults also have the opportunity to better understand about the food they eat.
The event is also a gathering place for regional farmers and ranchers. After a harvest that dragged on and on because of the weather this year, having a chance to get together with other farmers to talk grain grades, cattle genetics and hockey scores, is important, and Harvest Showdown allows for that too.
It is indeed a place for rural and urban to intermingle and the city is fortunate to have such a long-running venue for that interaction.