UFV well represented at 26th Pacific Agriculture Show
UFV was front and centre at the 26th annual Pacific Agricultural Show, which was held last week at the TRADEX in Abbotsford. The trade show brought together people from every area of the agriculture industry, providing networking opportunities for UFV students and faculty. The university had a booth showcasing the work and educational offerings of the Agriculture Technology department.
“This is the big agriculture event for the valley, and really the province,” said Renee Prasad, UFV Agriculture Technology department head. “It brings together all aspects of the industry and provides an opportunity for our students to see all the different career paths that are available to them. For Agriculture Technology faculty, we bring back to our classrooms some of the new things that are happening in our subject areas.”
This year’s show included a new addition with two UFV connections. Lenore Newman, director of the university’s Food and Agriculture Institute (FAI), was a judge for Farmer’s Den, a pitch competition inspired by Dragons’ Den but tailored specifically to entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector, especially agritech (see Farmer’s Den photos here). UFV student Mwenda Dyck competed in the “seedlings” category — for students or recent graduates with emerging agricultural companies or ideas for an agri-business. The winner received $10,000.
Launched by Abbotsford Tech District, the competition’s MC was Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce CEO Alex Mitchell, with Abbotsford Tech District Chief Strategy Officer Gavin Dew announcing the winners.
Also, for the first time, UFV’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies had a booth at the Pacific Agricultural Show. Prasad said one of the most enjoyable things about the event was interacting with the many UFV alumni who are now in the agriculture industry.
“It’s a great place to re-connect, and there’s nothing greater than seeing, for example, one of our graduates in the booth of an irrigation company or seeing someone who came through our program who’s now operating a dairy farm,” Prasad said. “I cannot explain how warm and fuzzy it is to see how happy they are with the choice they made to pursue agriculture.
“UFV is part of the agriculture community, and this show is about building community.”
The show included the Lower Mainland Horticultural Conference, where Prasad presented two research projects.
Prasad and Leah Erickson from Stokes Seeds talked about clubroot management in the Fraser Valley, discussing pest biology, field observations, and tips for success including clubroot-tolerant vegetable varieties.
Prasad and Suzanne Blatt, Research Entomologist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, discussed local and national work on cabbage root maggot management.
“I feel like I’m presenting directly to the people I’m doing research for,” Prasad said before the presentations. “I believe my research is for service to the agriculture community and hopefully it answers questions they have, or makes them more curious about their current practices, or works toward a possible solution to a problem they have.”
UFV students volunteered at the conference and had the opportunity to listen in on more than 60 presentations.