Largest ag show offers something for every farmer
By Cecilia Parsons
For the Capital Press
TULARE, Calif. — The world’s largest annual agricultural exhibition opens Feb. 11-13 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif.
In its 47th year, World Ag Expo continues to improve experiences for both visitors and exhibitors. This year’s show fills 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space with more than 1,600 exhibits. Sandwiched in between are dozens of informative seminars, intriguing farm tours, special exhibits and delicious food.
“We’re filled up again this year,” said show chairman Stephen Cunha. “All exhibit spaces are filled and we have a waiting list.”
Cunha, a Tulare-area pistachio grower, has been an expo volunteer for the past 38 years.
“The first year I farmed on my own, a neighbor came by and said we were going to volunteer to help at the farm show. I went and have been back every year since,” said Cunha, adding that he spent a lot of time on a forklift, delivering equipment to exhibit spaces.
Cunha said he is excited about the debut this year of the World Ag Expo Arena. The arena, which will have a stage area and spectator seating, will be available for exhibitors who want to demonstrate their product to an audience. Cunha said the Arena would feature a professional announcer to introduce each product during daily show times.
During each half-hour show, exhibitors will have time to demonstrate and explain how their product can be used.
The annual pull to the expo is irresistible to farmers and ranchers who want to see the latest farm machinery, equipment and technology. Many equipment and technology companies plan each year to introduce their new products at the Expo.
Besides scouting possible purchases, many expo visitors come for the seminar series held each year. Free hay and forage, international trade, dairy, beef and irrigation seminars featuring well-known experts are scheduled each day of the expo in the seminar area just south of the Dairy Center.
In the World Ag Women’s Pavilion the schedule of events includes cooking demonstrations by well-known local chefs. There will also be fashion shows, table setting instruction and wreath making. For lucky ticket-holders, the new Wine and Cheese Pavilion will offer a place to enjoy California wines and cheeses in a comfortable setting.
Two of the most popular annual events during World Ag Expo are the California Ag Leadership Breakfast and the Prayer Breakfast. The Ag Leadership Breakfast, a fundraiser offered by alumni of the ag leadership program, will be held at 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Heritage Complex banquet hall. The Prayer Breakfast will be at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Heritage Complex banquet hall.
Expo visitors can also participate in one or more of the agricultural tours scheduled during the week. Bus tours of Fresno area wineries, Tulare area dairies and local citrus production are available.
World Ag Expo
When: Feb. 11-13
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.
Where: International Agri-Center, Tulare, Calif.
How much: General admission is $15. Parking is free.
For more information: Go to the website www.worldagexpo.com or call (800) 999-9186 or (559) 688-1030.