Who we are
Plowing Matches have been part of our agricultural history in Ontario for over 150 years. In 1911, separate plowing associations in Ontario came together to form the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) --- which is a volunteer driven, non-profit organization incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act.
The OPA launched the first International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM) in 1913 & this annual event continues to positively influence the province in the areas of agriculture, food, agri-tourism & general tourism throughout rural communities in Ontario.
OPA Branch Associations
The Ontario Plowmen’s Association has a membership of over 45 local Branch Associations throughout Ontario with approximately 1,000 individual members --- and the Branches hold local Plowing Matches in their communities each year.
Not only do the top plowing competitors from Branch Matches compete at the IPM, individual members also volunteer their time on IPM Local and Provincial Committees and on the OPA Board of Directors.
The successes of the Branch Associations and IPMs are thanks to hundreds of dedicated and talented volunteers.
International Plowing Match & Rural Expo
Each year, the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (Provincial Committee) and a Local Organizing Committee organize the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM). The first IPM was held in 1913 and is truly a one-of-a-kind event as it moves to a different host community in Ontario each year. The IPM is a five-day celebration of agriculture & rural living and attracts on average 70,000+ people from across Ontario, throughout Canada, the United States and beyond. There are plowing competitions, Queen of the Furrow competition, activities for all ages, opportunities to learn about agriculture, near-constant live entertainment in multiple Match venues, hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, a wide variety of food, an RV Park … the list goes on.
The IPM is the largest outdoor event of its kind in Canada & it is the only event of its magnitude that moves to a new location each year. In recent years, the event has been held in the following locations – 2023 Bowling Green, Dufferin; 2022 Kemptville, Leeds & Grenville; 2019 Verner, West Nipissing; 2018 Chatham, Chatham-Kent; 2017 Walton, Huron and 2016 Harriston, Wellington. This demonstrates how no other event in Ontario has such an immense geographic sphere of influence.
An important goal of the Local Committee is to have its profit share distributed to community projects, non-profits & charitable organizations. For example, the IPM 2022 Local Committee shared almost $200,000 within Leeds & Grenville.
The IPM generates regional tourism – approximately 55% of visitors travel more than 40 km to the event. Independent studies show approximately $5.9 million in positive economic impact by tourists and event operations.