Southern Alberta farmers find innovation at Livestock Expo

WATCH ABOVE: The third annual Alberta Livestock Expo is underway at Exhibition Park, and it’s bigger than ever. Emily Olsen stopped by to see what the exhibitors and producers are saying about the innovation on display.

The third annual Alberta Livestock Expo kicked off Wednesday at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge.

Since its first year, the number of booths have nearly doubled, from 80 in 2017 to around 130 this year.

The event continues Thursday with a carcass auction to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

READ MORE: 2019 Ag Expo highlights importance of agriculture sector in southern Alberta

“It’s a big hit with everyone here,” said Lisa Doyle, Alberta Livestock Expo manager.

“We have over 20 producers who enter their hog carcasses. All the meat is donated, and the top three are hung on display at the expo. On Thursday, we announce a winner and auction off the top three. It gets pretty rowdy.”

Doyle said the prize for winners is a plaque and some serious bragging rights.

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“Last year, we raised $39,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities South Calgary,” Doyle said. “We had some top bidders spend a lot of money supporting the industry and we’re hoping to have the same again this year.”

Many farmers in attendance said they were trying to keep up with agriculture trends and the latest technology.

READ MORE: Technological innovation critical to ‘fourth revolution’ in farming

The booming innovation southern Alberta is known for was on display, with digital systems to monitor an animal’s health and growth, water treatment systems to optimize production, multiple genetics companies and several biosecurity systems to ensure intruders don’t endanger the safety or health of livestock.

Organizers said the fluctuating climate conditions have more farmers seeking innovative help to support efficient livestock production than ever before.

READ MORE: In Canada, climate change could open new farmland to the plow

“That’s Alberta,” Doyle said. 

“A lot of people here see the climate fluctuate from year to year. Snowstorms in September and hot days in October. Everybody can come here to get the help they need to deal with all those crazy weather challenges.”