Farm improvement contest part of Emo fall fair lineup

The adage “first impressions are important” could play a key role in putting district residents into the winner’s circle if they enter their farms in the annual Rainy River Valley beautification competition.
Jointly sponsored by the Rainy River Federation of Agriculture and the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society, the competition encourages rural residents to spruce up their properties with everything from flower beds and shrubbery to a new coat of paint on the chicken coop, said Linda Armstrong, an RRFA board member and one of four contest judges.
The other three judges will be RRFA board member James Gibson, and RRVAS board members Irene Ploegman and Kelly Faragher.
“It’s open to every rural resident who wants to smarten up their farm gate or do improvements to their farm yards,” Armstrong noted.
“The only entry fee is a picture of what the place looked like before the improvements were made,” she added.
Armstrong said the judging of rural properties entered in the competition could get underway anytime after the registration deadline of July 24, with judges showing up on the doorstep unannounced.
“We go around and do surprise visits. We’ll have the ‘before’ picture and we’ll [be looking for] the improvements,” she said.
In past years, the competition mostly attracted entries from the Stratton and Emo areas, Armstrong noted, but adding the judges were hoping for a wider range of entries this time around.
Participants have a choice to enter one of four categories, including Most Improved Farmstead, Farm Gateway/Entrance, and Most Attractive Rural Home.
Also up for grabs this year is a new category for residents who have won before but aren’t planning to add on to their beautification efforts.
“We have a new category this year for previous winners. They don’t have to have done anything wild and wonderful, just maintained the improvements they made to their farmstead before,” Armstrong said.
“And we have quite a good prize list,” she added, noting area nurseries and other businesses have contributed prizes to the competition.
Official entry forms are available from the RRFA office, its board members or RRVAS board members, or by calling Armstrong at 852-3645.