The Thanks For Farming Tour brought farmers and businesses together during COVID
By Paul Nolan
Jeremy Matuszewski had a moment last Wednesday morning in Red Deer, when he walked around Westerner Park and looked back at the journey that brought the Thanks For Farming Tour to that point in time.
“My first-ever farm show was eight years ago at Agri-Trade,” he recalled. “I was outside, it was cold, and I think I talked to one person on that first day.
“It was emotional to think of everything that went in to getting us to this point.
“But we could not have done this without the support of our sponsors, exhibitors and contractors. All I did was just put the best team in place, and say ‘we are doing this!’”
Matuszewski is CEO at Thunderstruck Sales & Marketing, based in Winkler, Manitoba, and lists Agri-Trade and AgSmart as key partners in holding this first-ever event, Nov. 11 and 12.
“Both of these shows had to cancel because of the sheer size of their events and to have them come on board and bring that expertise and wisdom to our team was key for our event.
“And the facility at Westerner Park bent over backwards to help us make this show happen.”
With farm shows and meetings across North America cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Matuszewski and team were determined to stage an industry event in-person.
Organizers explained on social media that “we are taking every precaution to keep you safe at this show” with “sanitizing stations, physical distancing, clear face shields provided, and no-touch temperature checks.”
Matuszewski explained that “we hired a company that specializes in putting on safe events called Crowd Design and they designed the protocols that we followed. Our exhibitors, speakers and attendees all cooperated and appreciated the measures we put in place.
“Our goal was to put on the best show we could, in the safest manner we could.”
While last week’s snow affected attendance on Day 1, Matuszewski said “we had 350 farmers attend over two days – and they were the right farmers who attended.”
That meant the show’s 77 exhibitors were pleased with the business done and the contacts made.
And they are already asking “when and where” the next Tour stop will be.
The Thunderstruck team hasn’t decided on their next event, and they will take some time to consider options.
As Matuszewski explained, “our goal was simply to give back to the farmers, who I believe are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Because I truly believe that.
“We are going to take a bit of time now before we decide what’s next.”