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Hakmet product specialist Jeff Lancaster. (Photo: Lucy Martin)
Hakmet product specialist Jeff Lancaster. (Photo: Lucy Martin)

Curiosity fuels Ottawa's farm show

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The Ottawa Valley Farm Show recently marked its 85th year with a three-day run at the new CE Centre next to Ottawa's main airport. This event started as a seed fair in Pembroke and grew into the largest farm show in Eastern Ontario.

As you'd expect, a lot of the space is devoted to pitching shiny new machinery. Lucy Martin stopped at the Hakmet display to ask vendor Jeff Lancaster how these big shows work from his side of the booth.

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Lucy Martin
Ottawa Correspondent

Jeff Lancaster: We're a Canadian company based in Grenville, Quebec that imports forest and farm equipment.

Lucy Martin: Imports from where?

Jeff Lancaster: Finland. And other Scandinavian countries. Scandinavian climate is very similar to our own. The Scandinavians are also leaders in crop production technology, particularly in seeding and cultivation. They're also very efficient designers and constructors of machinery. And also a very pleasant group of people to work with, in general!

Lucy Martin: What level of interest is there?

Jeff Lancaster: A lot of curiosity, right now, at first. I'm pretty sure it's going to lead into some solid product sales.

Lucy Martin: So, you're farmer, walking by and you see something cool. Do you think “Well, I don't want to be the first. I have to see how it works and then I'll think about it.” Or, what do you have to get over to persuade someone to try something really new?

Jeff Lancaster: Well, I guess there's two trains of thought. There's people that wait and see what your neighbors are doing, and then the other ones that are really, leaders. And I think the biggest fear on European machinery is the parts. (Lucy Martin: Sure.) And now, with the logistic chains that have been established world-wide, no, I don't think there's any risk at all now.

Lucy Martin: Well, then the other big deal is cost. New equipment just – well, it's expensive! There's no getting around that!

Jeff Lancaster: There's no secret about that, it is expensive. You can go two ways. You can make no investment at all in farm equipment and be trapped into a situation where you have, basically, equipment that is worth nothing. Or you can just spend yourself horribly into debt. You have to find a happy balance between the two.

Lucy Martin: Survive!

Jeff Lancaster: You have to make it all work, somehow. Farmers are masters of doing that.

Lucy Martin: Are you a farmer?

Jeff Lancaster: I come from a farm based here in Cornwall, area, actually. My dad is a herdsman for a large farm down there. So, yeah, I'm used to 4 o' clock milkings and midnight unloading hay, and stuff like that.

Lucy Martin: What's different about selling equipment?

Jeff Lancaster: A lot of things, actually. I guess it's the people you meet. You get to meet all walks of life. I enjoy working with European stuff and I enjoy showing people that this is what's coming out, this is what's new. And I have a real passion for it.

Lucy Martin: Do you come to the farm shows often?

Jeff Lancaster: This is my first year at the Ottawa show, but I've done many other shows in Quebec and in the United States. Hoping to be back next year.



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