Even though it’s held in the fall, another of Canada’s annual traditions has just been cancelled for this year.
The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo was scheduled for October 14-17th at the Lindsay, Exhibition Grounds in the scenic Kawartha Lakes municipality in Ontario. It has now been put back to 2021.
The IPM has been held annually since 1913 and was only cancelled twice before, ironically once in 1918 due to the deadly Spanish flu, and again during the Second World War.
The event annually attracts thousands of visitors during its three day run, may of whom arrive early and stay later in the area becoming an important source of revenue for the local community wherever the event is staged. The IPM estimates an economic boost to host communities of $12 million in immediate input and up to $25 million total.
- RCI: May 5/20: COVID-19: the summer of fun events that didn’t happen
- RCI: May 13/20: COVID-19 takes down one of the last major summer events
Although the it’s all about ploughing skills with everything from horses to antique tractors, to the modern version, there are so many other attractions that it attracts visitors with no connection to farming.
This includes a variety of musical performances, skill riders, antique displays of all kinds, traditional crafts and more.
The postponement due to COVID-19, comes amid other deep concerns in the agricultural sector as farming and ranching suffers deep financial setbacks with market collapse, from dairy, to potatoes, sheep and beef, to mushrooms and all aspects in between have seen production facilities close and markets collapse.
Sylvain Charlebois ia the senior director of the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax. After analysis of the situation in late April, he estimated that some 15 per cent of Canada’s farms could declare bankruptcy and be lost. As the COVID-19 situation developed he later said that figure could be an underestimation due to additional factors like the Trudeau Liberal’s carbon tax which has cut severely into farmers bottom lines,especially with a wet spring requiring substantial heating to dry stored crops.
Farmers are a tough lot and Guelph-based Agri-Food Economic Systems researcher Al Mussell, quoted in the Farmer’s Forum said of them, “People are prepared to carry on under very poor circumstances”.
- Ontario Plowing Assoc- IPM
- Wallaceburg Courier: T Terfloth: May 25/20: International Plowing Match postponed until 2021
- Farmer’s Forum: T. Collins:May 21/20 15 per cent of farms gone by end of 2020?
- MyKawartha: B Hodgins; Apr 7/20: Organizers plowing ahead with plans to see IPM in Kawartha Lakes this fall