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Agricultural Manufacturing: a Booming Business

The agricultural manufacturing industry is growing, and growing fast in Saskatchewan.

There are several reasons why this sector is growing so rapidly, says Jerry Engel, CEO, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada, "First of all, it's because Canadians make the best agricultural machinery in the world. Many of our members over the years have been exporting their fine products all around the world. And they are very successful in those endeavours because of the quality of the equipment that they make."

The annual Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina, is another reason for the growth of the industry, he says. Last year around 600 people from around the world came to view the agricultural equipment on display, to make deals and, in some cases, to do joint ventures.

"Show manager, Rob O'Connor has really done a terrific job," says Engel. Last June, international buyers from 58 nations were in attendance from the Middle East, eastern and western Europe, Australia and North America. Buyers from Ghana and the Czech Republic attended for the first time. The number of exhibitors, topping 800, broke previous records. Twenty-four new products were launched, including Caterpillar's new CT660 truck, a new combine from Versatile and new onboard tanks from Seedmaster.

And last, but not least, grain prices have been high over the last couple of years, enabling farmers to update and replace machinery.

In terms of sales, "I would say that this year was comparable to 2010," says Engel. "Both were very good years; 2011 was a bit slower. I'd say we've gained in 2012, five percent over 2010 on average."

Three years ago the Canadian dollar rose to about $1.10 which was a bit of challenge notes Engel. "Obviously when our dollar goes up the cost of our equipment goes up in the U.S. and in foreign markets. But because of the quality of the equipment made here, there are no other manufacturers who can touch it. Some foreign companies have tried to do knockoffs but not very successfully. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles and isn't made as well."

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