Editorial - Important to have event focused on farming

The 31st edition of the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown has come and gone, with far too many in the city having not taken the opportunity to walk through the displays.

That does not mean crowds were not good. The annual event is one which brings a lot of visitors from the rural region to the city, which of course is itself a good thing.

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When visitors come to the city for any reason it means gasoline sales for the trip home. It means meals bought and enjoyed. It means taking the opportunity to do some shopping, and with the holiday season just around the corner that may be even more significant when talking about Harvest Showdown.

The rural visitor attends Harvest Showdown because it is an event that is all about agriculture.

This is the event put on by the Yorkton Exhibition Association that most closely fits the roots of the YEA, events focused on farming.

So farmers enter samples of their grain, letting them be judged against those of neighbours and friends, a red ribbon and bragging rights for the year going to the producer of the sample selected as best by the judges.

Cattle producers bring their heifers to the show for much the same reason, and then attend the sale as an opportunity to buy and sell new genetics for their operation.

And, of course there are a range of fun events producers take part in, events that are competitive at Harvest Showdown, but just part of farming at home. There were trials for stock dogs, draft horse pulling and chore horse competitions, all ways to have some fun away from the general pressures of farming watching world prices with one eye and the weather with the other.

While Harvest Showdown is a gathering place for producers, perhaps more importantly it is a place of education.

Thanks to Mosaic hundreds of students from the city and region took in Harvest Showdown for a chance to learn about agriculture at a series of learning stations.

There are less and less farms, which means less families tied directly to agriculture, even in a city like Yorkton where its existence relies heavily on farming. That can mean students are less aware of just where their food comes from, and the challenges producers face in producing what we take for granted will be on our table to eat each day.

The chance to see a cow, or pig, or sheep up close, to learn that oats are behind the porridge ate for breakfast is important, and Harvest Showdown allows for that.

Our city is fortunate that 31 years ago there was the vision to start an agriculture-oriented event each fall, and the YEA should be applauded that the event remains a big part of November each year.

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