The Red Deer Agri-Trade event opened to the public today.

Show Manager David Fiddler says about 30,000 people are expected to come through the gates over the next three days.

He emphasizes that's a result of being the Right Show at the Right Time in the Right Location. 

The show features the latest in agriculture equipment and technology, services, and products from the top mainline farm equipment dealers to short-line manufacturers.

According to Fiddler, a lot of the major equipment manufacturers bring their equipment specialists into the show with a lot of companies launching new products and services at the show.

"It's a good time for farmers to come and look. Everything's fresh in their mind from what happened through the growing season whether they're growing crops or livestock. They know what they need to repair, fix, or want to do differently. So it's a great time to work that all out."

He says this year's show at Westerner Park features 500 exhibits including for the second year in a row a German Pavillion.

"Last year, the German government sponsored an international stand at Agri-Trade and they're back again for a second run at that. They chose Agri-Trade after surveying exhibitors that attended shows in Germany, which show should they come to in North America. As a result of that they selected Agri-Trade. So we're very honored to be chosen as the entry point for German technology into the North American marketplace."

He notes the German Pavillion features everything from components to smaller farm equipment and irrigation.

One of the highlights at the show on Thursday is the Ag InnovationsAwards Competition at 3 p.m. in the Frontier Room.

Five finalists will go head-to-head on stage, competing for the prestigious $20,000 grand prize at the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo this November.

In a perfect pitch style format, each finalist will be given five (5) minutes to present to a panel of judges for the chance to win the $20,000 grand prize cash award. Producers will also have the opportunity to participate in selecting the winner of the "Farmers Choice Award," who will receive $5,000.

The five companies competing for the top prize are AGRA GPS, COMBINESETTINGS.COM, GROUND TRUTH AG, M-RWS AND SPIDER HITCH.

The Red Deer Agri-Trade event runs today through Friday, show hours are 9 til 5, and daily admission is $15 with children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.