Solid support once again for Neepawa Ag Expo


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

The 2018 edition of the Neepawa Ag Expo appears to have built upon the success of the inaugural event. The Expo, now in its second year of existence, was held at the Yellowhead Centre on Thursday, Apr. 5. It featured 48 display and sponsor booths from ag-related businesses across the Westman region. Those participation numbers are higher than 2017 when 39 businesses partook in the day.  

Along with the displays, the Expo also featured a pair of guest speakers and a growers panel, examining a variety of farm topics. 

The highlight of the event was an auction, which included 42 donated items and services. In total, it brought in just over $25,000. All the net proceeds will go to the Neepawa Natives hockey team to help with annual operating expenses.

For the second straight year, the Ag Expo was organized by Matt Lowry, Scott Newton and Cam Tibbett. Upon the conclusion of the day, Lowry indicated that they had received a tremendous response from the participating businesses.

“We had a lot of growth from last year and lot of businesses approaching us asking to join the event which is saying a lot. There was a lot of positive response and word of mouth being passed around about the event last year. Which made things easier when it came to planning for this year.” Lowry said. “It was very special to see how connected our community is to agriculture and how much support we have for community teams and events. I encourage exhibitors and growers to speak to me with constructive conversations to improve the event since this was only the second year so the event continues to grow.”

Neepawa Natives board president Ken Waddell thanked Lowry, Newton and Tibbett and all the other individuals involved in the organizing committee who helped to ensure the Expo went off without a hitch. He added that the Expo has very quickly turned into one of the hockey club’s most important events. 

“[The Neepawa Natives] really appreciate all the work by the committee, the support of the ag community and all the farmers who attended and bid at the auction. A big chunk of the profits will go to pay off the ice rental bill at the Yellowhead although the team has been making regular payments all season long,” stressed Waddell. “The really, great thing about Ag Expo is that it showcases our very vibrant local farming industry and all the money raised stays in the community. The Neepawa Natives annual budget is around $400,000 and is almost all spent locally on ice rental, wages and billet costs. The team is the largest single team ice rental customer at the Yellowhead Centre and Natives home games and camps account for 34 per cent of the sales at the concession, the Redline Grill.”

As for the future of the Ag Expo, representatives with the committee noted there are plans already in the works for next year and are hopeful this will continue to evolve into a tremendous local showcase for the farming industry.