An optional (and highly recommended) pre-congress stop for delegates is Canada's Outdoor Farm Show. I'm joined here, welcoming the world, by (from left) the show's Stefanie Nagelschmitz, Doug Wagner and Lorie Jocius.

I’m proud to co-chair a group of two dozen Canadian agricultural journalists and communications professionals who, after three years of planning and preparation, are welcoming up to 300 colleagues from around the world to Guelph this year.

With support from industry, government, the city and the university, the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ 55th annual congress will get off the ground in Guelph—and finish in Niagara Falls — in September. The event — the only one of its kind that brings together the world’s top agricultural journalists and communicators — hasn’t been in Canada since 1967.

Hopefully, that means there will be significant pent-up demand for participants, especially considering the exciting year ahead and the myriad of local, national and global stories available.

News-hungry participants will be arriving just before the next provincial election. That’s bound to create a buzz, with reminders about the farm sector’s performance over the past five years, and a look at the way ahead.

Indeed, throughout Canada, the past, present and future are teeming with superb agri-food stories. I discuss them — local food, sustainability, food vs. fuel vs. feed, etc. — in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.