25 years of memorable SWAC moments

The Southwest Agricultural Conference (SWAC) will mark its 25th anniversary on January 3rd, when the two-day conference unofficially kicks off Ontario’s winter farm meeting season.

In Part Two of our video series looking back at a quarter century of SWAC, we hear from a host of conference organizers and participants who share their favourite memories of the the annual conference, which takes place at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus.

Feature speaker Canadian wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc shares her incredible journey from the SWAC stage.

We kick things off with RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson, who recalls his ongoing agronomy duels with Pat Lynch and Greg Stewart during their Production Pundits jousting matches. Agricultural engineer Helmut Spieser recalls the lengths conference organizers would go to provide management insights for farmers. That includes trucking dirt into the livestock pavilion to conduct a live soil compaction study.

Check out Part One: Looking back at 25 years of SWAC

Both Johnson and SWAC organizing committee chair Adam Hayes remember being in awe as Canadian wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc shared her inspiring story with a jam-packed auditorium. Many recall the year that Red Green came to Ridgetown. OMAFRA plant pathologist Albert Tenuta reflects on the buzz around town when word spread that Canada’s largest consumer of duct tape would be hitting the campus stage.

And then there’s the intense and frequent production practices and technology debates that engaged both researchers and farmers. When the no-till supporters met up with the tillage fans, the sparks did fly, says OMAFRA environment program specialist Gabrielle Ferguson.

 

Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture’s Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation awards for journalism excellence. He’s also worked for two of Canada’s leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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