The IPM is coming to Verner September 17-21. (Steph Larouche, MyWestNipissingNow.com staff)
John Vanthof is an IPM veteran and a big fan of the event.
The MPP of the Timiskaming-Cochrane riding took in the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo ten years ago when Earlton, Ontario, hosted the event. Earlton was, up until this year, the only other northern Ontario community to host the IPM.
“The IPM is going to be fantastic. This one at this stage is further ahead than we were in Earlton,” Vanthof said during the IPM media day.
“You’re going to have 100,000 people show up in Verner, 100,000 people who are interested in agriculture and interested in this area because a lot of those people have never been here before,” said Vanthof. “What we had in Earlton, a lot of people were shocked that there was actual agriculture in Northern Ontario. They will be stunned by this area. It is going to be the greatest show on Earth.”
See related story: Average IPM corrals $20-25M in economic activity
Of course, the IPM is certainly going to be an economic boost to the area. But, what else can it do based on the results of the Earlton IPM?
“It changed us forever,” Vanthof said. “Not just Earlton but the Timiskaming-Cochrane area. We have had many people move into the area from other areas of the province because of the exposure from the plowing match. Tourism was boosted for years.”
Some 80,000 people showed up for the Earlton IPM ten years ago and expectations are that Verner will host that many, if not more, over the course of the five days the event runs.
Vanthof added, “A big thing that it did, we always lived beside each other but the plowing match united us all. We all worked together for one goal and that is the legacy of the IPM and that legacy will live on here too.”