If you’re in Western Canada, you are most likely looking forward to one of the crop tour highlights of the summer: canolaPALOOZA.
Hosted and organized by the three canola organizations across the prairies — Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, and Manitoba Canola Growers — canolaPALOOZA brings three days of education, and fun across the prairies on three separate dates:
Ellen Grueter, communications manager with SaskCanola, Leanne Campbell, communications manager with Manitoba Canola Growers Association, and Rick Taillieu, grower relations and extension manager with Alberta Canola Producers Commission joined Kara Oosterhuis on RealAg Radio to talk about the three ‘PALOOZAs’, and some of the highlights expected at each of the events.
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According to Taillieu, at canolaPALOOZA, there’s an expert answer for every canola question you may have.
“What we do is we gather at the Lacombe Research Centre, and we bring in over 125 of the leading researchers, agronomists, and industry specialists from across Western Canada to make sure that everyone that attends can get an answer to every canola question,” says Taillieu. “I’d compare it to something like a tradeshow, where you show up, there’s no agenda, and basically you can move through the site in whatever direction you choose. You can spend as much, or as little time as you’d like.”
Alberta was the first of the provinces to host a canolaPALOOZA, and Taillieu says the idea actually originated one day on his garden tractor.
“It really started with an idea of trying to move away from having a whole bunch of small tours across the province, to wondering whether it would be possible to bring all the experts together in one place. Alberta Canola got into discussions with the Canola Council of Canada, with the amazing crew of technicians at the Lacombe Research Centre, and started talking about whether or not they could actually put plots in to show people something,” says Taillieu.
Saskatchewan will be holding it’s canolaPALOOZA at the Agriculture and Agri-food research station near Saskatoon.
“This year we’re hosting a crop-rotation station that will showcase the pros, challenges, and solutions to rotating canola with six other commodities, including wheat, barley, flax, peas, fababeans, and quinoa,” explains Grueter, adding, “admission is free, and meals and treats will be provided from five different food trucks, so you can make an eventful educational day out of it.”
(And when there are food trucks involved, there’s really no way to go wrong.)
The Manitoba event, hosted at Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre, started as a canolaPALOOZA, but later formed into a CROPS-A-PALOOZA, in 2018.
“Our event is a unique event because we actually partner with a total of nine different commodity groups, and call ours CROPS-A-PALOOZA, so there will be crops of all different kinds out in the field for our day,” says Campbell. “It’s been great to have a one-stop shop for farmers. Crop rotation is vital to having a healthy business model, so we thought it would be smart to have everything in one place altogether.”
Expect activities for the whole family, with games and entertainment to keep the young ones busy.
All three events are free to register, but the commodity groups are asking attendees to sign up ahead of time.
“When you register, we can ensure that we have enough food, space, and time for everyone,” Grueter explains.