Memories galore in farm progress building

Dave Ogilvie

The Rainy River Federation of Agriculture’s farm progress building at the annual fall fair in Emo began as an idea in the mind of one committee member during the winter of 1978-79.
That winter, Marlin Cowser proposed that the new ice surface be used as an area where district farmers could share information each August on new equipment, innovative farming techniques, and various improvements in the farming industry.
For several decades, the exhibits in the arena have attracted large crowds of visitors and locals alike. It has been a meeting place, a place to cool off or warm up (depending on the weather), and a place to learn about our district.
“In the early days, the exhibits were all directly connected to the agriculture of the district,” noted building co-ordinator Linda Armstrong.
“Now they reflect the modern agricultural lifestyle,” she added.
Jeannette Cawston, rural agricultural co-ordinator for the RRFA, believes the farm progress building has become an important aspect of the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s annual fall fair.
“It generates revenue for the [RRVAS], assists small businesses by providing a venue for their products, and unites people from across the district,” she enthused.
The exhibitors have changed over the years, but four of this year’s 50 have been present at every fall fair since 1979.
The Federation of Agriculture, the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association, the milk producers of the district, and the Rural Safety Association all have been part of the farm progress building since it opened its doors.
The Rainy River Federation of Agriculture, which sees itself as “Farmers working for farmers,” was established in 1976.
Since then, its members actively have promoted local food production and proudly supported all initiatives that would improve the quality of life and livelihood for the members and everyone else who lives in Rainy River District.
The farm progress building is one of their annual projects.
Armstrong was extremely pleased with this year’s results. “We had 50 exhibitors this year, which is more than the last two years,” she beamed.
This year’s booths included a large variety of exhibitors, such as small businesses, government services, agricultural groups, political parties, as well as various charitable organizations.
Plans already are underway to celebrate the actual 30th anniversary of the farm progress building at next year’s fall fair.
“We’re going to make it the biggest and best yet!” Armstrong pledged.
Anyone interested in renting a display area in next year’s farm progress building should keep an eye open for the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s 2010 fair book.