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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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Livestock shows and auctions

Stock show and saleNorthlands Park has always placed an emphasis on agricultural exhibitions, encouraging outside organizers to host their livestock shows and related events on-site.

By 1968, this attitude was paying off as livestock shows and competitions held on the grounds were giving out $84,000 CDN in prize money. Three years later, the "Land of Milk and Honey" exhibit, wherein 240,000 visitors learned about the production of those substances, became another in a long line of specialized educational events for the public.

By 1978, Northlands Park was running out of space to house its teeming agricultural programs, leading to construction of the Northlands AgriCom in 1984. Organizers of stock shows and sales finally had room to expand on their activities, and they did.

Out for a walkNow, the Farm and Ranch Show is one of the largest and most diverse agricultural attractions at Northlands. With over 400 exhibits, a petting zoo, a collectors' toy show, a Western Art Gallery, and thousands of dollars in prize money, the event attracts a broad cross-section of interested people.

Of the greatest interest to farmers, however, is the concurrent Pedigreed Seed Show. Started in 1985, and run by a volunteer panel of seed growers, producers, and company representatives, it is one of only two such events in Canada.

After plant breeders have developed seed genetically predisposed to grow well in certain regions—it is tolerant to change and resistant to common crop diseases—the Canadian Seed Growers' Association can certify it as being relatively free from weed seeds and other crop seeds. The inspection process for certification also determines what percentage of seed successfully sprouts, and it sets a standard for performance.

Stock show and saleThere are minimum quality requirements for all seed legally sold in Canada, but pedigreed seed is tested for its ability to exceed these standards. Producers can buy this seed, sold under a variety name, with some assurance of having it yield a strong and uniform crop.

The Seed Show, then, is designed both as a competition and as an exhibition of these efforts. In 2003, there were 175 entries from producers and junior members. Meanwhile, 79 percent of those who attended were involved with agriculture. The displays are designed to inform that demographic. Such exhibits also give the general public an opportunity to learn about this industry.

Farmfair International, another large agricultural event held at Northlands, plays host to beef and small livestock sales of its own. Producers from around Alberta show up every November to see what is on offer and to take in the surrounding attractions.

Small Livestock Show and SaleThe 4-H livestock shows, sales, and competitions work in much the same way, except that the emphasis there is placed more on developing exhibitors' skills than on the sales themselves.

Most aspects of agricultural production, from breeding to selling, are touched upon by exhibits held at the Northlands grounds every year. In this way, volunteers involved in these projects reaffirm the organization's commitment to making agriculture a priority.

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Livestock shows
 and auctions

Machinery shows
 and auctions

4-H and other rural youth programs

Homemaking

Farmfair
 International

New Directions

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