Capital Press | Spokane Ag Expo Capital Press Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:48:40 -0500 en Capital Press | Spokane Ag Expo Spokane celebrates Ag Expo, Farm Forum Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:22:33 -0500 The Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum are the centerpieces of the 2015 Ag Week celebration.

Each year the Spokane Ag Expo organizers and Visit Spokane designate “Ag Week in Spokane.” This year it is planned for Feb. 1-7.

The Expo, now in its 38th year, will be based in the newly expanded Spokane Convention Center, while the forum, in its 61st year, holds agriculture-related presentations and seminars in the nearby Spokane DoubleTree Hotel.

“As we continue celebrating agriculture in Spokane, highlighting the importance of agriculture in our region, we are very excited for the expanded exhibit space, allowing us to bring more exhibits and events for attendees,” said Myrna O’Leary, director of the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

Others events that are part of Ag Week include:

• The second annual Excellence in Agriculture Award will be presented at the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum opening session on Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom. The award was developed to recognize an individual, business or organization that has had significant, positive impacts on the agricultural industry in the Inland Northwest during 2014.

• With the expansion of the convention center, rooms directly off the show floor allow exhibitors to offer an array of workshops on topics important to farmers.

• The Expo will offer a career fair for high school students, increasing awareness of the career opportunities available to them. Students and parents are encouraged to attend the event, which will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5.

• The Expo offers a “Big Data” panel discussion from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, to help farmers consider how the data revolution could impact them, including questions about farmer-generated data, how it’s gathered by service providers, who owns farmer-generated data and potential risks. Panelists include Kirk A. Wesley, national and key accounts manager for CNH Industrial, NAFTA; Elizabeth Tellessen, attorney with Winston & Cashatt in Spokane; and Barrie Robison, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho and associate director of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies.

• Expo attendees will again be able to donate canned food and make monetary donations to the annual Dump for Hunger food drive sponsored by Western States Equipment. This is the sixth year of this anti-hunger drive at the during the Expo. All food and money collected is donated to Second Harvest Food Bank and distributed throughout the Inland Northwest.

• The Pacific Northwest Farm Forum will present a full slate of seminars and top speakers. Weatherman Art Douglas, emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at Creighton University, and Washington State University small grains agricultural economics professor Randy Fortenbery speak at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the DoubleTree Hotel.

AgDirection founder and president Kevin Van Trump is back by popular demand with his agriculture economic forecast at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the DoubleTree Ballroom, hosted by the AgriBusiness Council of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

WSU agriculture technology and production management adviser James Durfey will speak to FFA members about career opportunities using precision agriculture from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at the DoubleTree.

For further details, visit the Spokane Ag Expo website at

‘Big data’ panel will address farmer-generated info Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:18:25 -0500 Matw Weaver Farmers will learn from experts about the potential opportunities and dangers of “big data” during a presentation at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The discussion will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom.

Panelists will talk about farmer-generated data to guide production and business decisions, how that data is used by service providers, who owns the data and managing risks when a farmer shares his data.

“The goal for the program will be to help farmers start thinking about (these) questions and how the data revolution could affect their own farming practices in the future,” said Myrna O’Leary, manager of the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The panelist will include Kirk Wesley, national and key accounts manager for CNH Industrial in Burr Ridge, Ill.; Barrie Robison, associate director of the University of Idaho Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies; and Elizabeth Tellessen, an attorney with Winston & Cashatt in Spokane.

Each speaker will have 30 minutes, with time for a question-and-answer session.

“Big data” refers to the collection and storage of information from machinery, companies working in agriculture and regulatory agencies, Wesley said.

Telematics connect operations in the field to data warehouses, or silos, he said.

CNH Industrial is careful to inform customers that they control any share or use of their data, Wesley said. The company removes identifying factors to look at data on a broader scale to find potential areas for improvement, he said. Wesley likened this approach to the financial and health industries.

“We can tell you in the county you’re sitting in right now how many cancer cases (there are), but the door slams shut when we want the names of those people,” he said as an example. “We don’t care where any of this equipment is running, we just want to know the performance issues that might be going on and make a better product in the future.”

Robison said “big data” covers an array of data sets from growers worldwide. The information could answer questions that were previously impossible to answer by showing what kind of steps have been used elsewhere to address challenges, he said.

“The idea is to get to solutions that can actually be implemented,” Robison said.

Tellessen recommends farmers who are using computerized technology look over their agreement before attending the discussion.

Technology is changing so quickly that farmers need to know both the opportunities and the risks, Tellessen said.

One of the concerns is who owns a farmer’s data and who has access to it, she said.

Tellessen hopes to convey during the panel discussion where companies differ in contractual agreements — how the data is kept, shared, owned or protected.

Wesley cautioned farmers to look carefully at the legal agreements when they sign up for online applications, or apps, to determine where and how the data may be used.

“Put this up a little bit higher on your radar, maybe have an idea of where this data is going and how it’s going to be used,” Wesley said.

Successful farmers could end up sharing their techniques with competing growers and putting their own operation at risk, Wesley said.

Farmers could also find that they are inadvertently sharing private information under a licensing agreement with a seed company, he said.

“All the players you’re bringing to this table, you need to understand what their stance is,” he said.

Robison said U.S. farmers need to pay attention to big data because their competitors are.

“It’s to the point where either you’re going to pay attention to this and gain a competitive edge from it, or you’re going to be left behind,” he said.

Photo contest winners capture life in the country Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:16:55 -0500 Matw Weaver The winners of the annual Spokane Ag Expo photography contest bring a unique perspective to life in the country.

“The ones that rise to the top are the pictures that are able to show us something in a way we haven’t seen it — in our world and in ourselves,” said judge Rajah Bose, photographer for Gonzaga University in Spokane. “This year’s contest was one of the best in our memory. Thank you to everyone who submitted photos, it was difficult to make our final choices.”

Karen Baumann, of Washtucna, Wash., placed first in the adult category with “Stay Close.”

“A great moment on the farm,” Bose said. “The falling snow, the beautiful simple color palate of the red and brown made us feel like we were there.”

Dakota Street of Mabton, Wash., placed first in the youth category, with “Rain on a Window.”

“This image stood out for its vision and detail,” Bose said. “Pairing the rain with the light on the window of a car was a great use of juxtaposition that added meaning to what would have been a beautiful sunset on its own.”

Bose had high praise for the youth entries.

“The youth category really sang this year,” he said. “We enjoyed getting closer to the subjects, taking us to places we hadn’t seen, and showing us parts of ourselves we hadn’t thought about.”

Photographers were asked to submit photos depicting agriculture in the Inland Northwest.

In the adult category, Steve Shinning of Spokane placed second with “Old Tractors,” and Tracy Delya of Colville, Wash., placed third with “Hay Stacks.” Baumann also received the show director’s choice award for “Standing in Daddy’s Overalls.” Honorable mentions went to Shinning for “McCoy Elevator,” David Huck of Deer Park, Wash., for “Hay Rolling Storm,” Daniel Leitz of Spokane for “Starlit Barn,” and Dennis Morissey of Mead, Wash., for “In a Cloud of Dust.”

In the youth category, Linda Rubio of Mabton placed second with “A Day at the Grape Field,” and Remadi Lyn Maple of Coulee City, Wash., placed third with “Wheat Fall.” Anna Leitz of Spokane received show director’s choice award for “Ladybug.” Honorable mentions went to Anna Leitz for “Palouse Ammonia,” Danielle Rogne of Addy, Wash., for “Seeing Red,” Garrett Lewis of Rockford, Wash., for “Man in Field” and Adriana Gutierrez of Mabton for “Driving into the Sun.”

Greater Spokane Incorporated staff selected Baumann’s “Standing in Daddy’s Overalls” and “Lewis’ “Man in Field” for Greater Spokane Incorporated’s Choice awards.

All 93 entries will be displayed during the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum in the Spokane Convention Center Exhibit Halls. Winning photos will be posted on the Spokane Ag Expo website following the Expo.

Drier winters in store for region, weatherman predicts Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:21:36 -0500 Matw Weaver The Pacific Northwest could be in for dry winters and wet springs as a long-term El Niño pattern develops, a weather expert says.

Art Douglas is the professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and the featured speaker at this year’s Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, which takes place during the 2015 Spokane Ag Expo.

Douglas has called for dry winter weather both this year and next.

However, entering the spring, the jet stream will begin pumping warm, moist air northward toward the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m expecting, with a bleak winter, spring will turn around and we’ll really start seeing some moisture, which is not typical of an El Niño,” he said.

El Niño is created by a prolonged warming of the Pacific Ocean’s surface temperatures. Most El Niños have a cold water pool north of Hawaii, limiting the amount of moisture for storms, but this one has a lot of moisture and energy potential, he said.

The current El Niño is about two to three months behind the normal time frame, he said.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and European models indicate the “misbehaving” El Niño, which will peak late, could create continuous El Niño conditions. By the end of this summer, water temperatures at the equator will approach 1.5 to 2 degrees above normal.

“We’re looking at probably a two-year El Niño event,” Douglas said. “Two-year El Niños are not common. ... But this El Niño has just not quite developed like it should.”

Most El Niños mean a dry winter and spring in the Northwest, he said. But with the extreme warmth of the Pacific Ocean, Douglas expects a wet spring in the Northwest.

Similar El Niños also occurred in 1976-1979 and 1993-1994. Multi-year El Niños only occur every 20 to 25 percent of the time, he said.

Expo visitors help food drive ‘dump’ hunger Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:20:58 -0500 Matw Weaver Western States Equipment hopes Spokane Ag Expo visitors will help the company collect seven dump truck loads of food this year, marking its seventh annual Dump Hunger food drive.

The company-sponsored food drive returns to the Expo this year. Since 2008, the drive has collected nearly 3.4 million pounds of food, which goes to food banks in Eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Western Wyoming.

Each year Western States increases its goal. Last year, the drive collected the equivalent of six truckloads. This year, the company hopes to collect 525,000 pounds, or seven truckloads. That amount of food will provide roughly 437,000 meals to people in need.

The company is seeking canned or dry goods or cash donations.

Western States marketing coordinator Whitney Mustin said the drive is especially timely, as food bank donations tend to drop off following the holiday season.

“As we get more into the deep part of the winter months, the food bank lines continue to get a little bit longer, quite frankly,” said Rod Wieber, chief resource officer for Second Harvest in Spokane. “Donations, though, start to slow down. I think it’s just not top-of-mind.”

Heating bills and other expenses increase during the winter, so people have to rely on local food banks to stretch their budgets, Wieber said.

The Expo provides a good opportunity to collect monetary donations, Wieber said. For each dollar donated, Second Harvest can provide five meals to a family in need, he said.

Many Expo attendees are from rural communities, where Second Harvest distributes food, he said.

“They’ll be helping out their neighbors and communities,” he said.

According to a Western States press release, food donations can also be made at any Western States location. Monetary donations can be made online through participating food banks.

The biggest need is for boxed meals such as macaroni and cheese; peanut butter; canned fruit, soup, chili, stew or vegetables; cereal; dried beans; pasta; pasta sauce; rice; and stuffing mix.

“As a company, we appreciate any help (farmers and ranchers) are able to do, and we know the food banks appreciate it,” Mustin said. “It’s going to go to families in need.”

The company plans to continue the drive beyond 2015.

“It’s successful and it helps all of the communities out,” Mustin said.

Award honors agriculture’s supporters Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:20:08 -0500 Matw Weaver The Greater Spokane Incorporated AgriBusiness Council will present its Excellence in Agriculture Award during the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The award debuted last year, when the council honored the McGregor Company for its rehabilitation of a biodiesel facility in Creston, Wash., and students from Odessa High School for a career forum, which placed first in the nation at the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.

The winners of the 2015 award will be announced and presented at the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum kickoff session the morning of Feb. 3.

According to a council press release, the selection committee considers four criteria:

• Innovation in agriculture.

• Economic or environmental stewardship contribution to agriculture.

• Positive impact on agriculture.

• Industry awareness and outreach.

Dick Hatterman, general manager of Co-Ag Inc., in Rosalia, Wash., is chairman of the selection committee.

“It’s something we kinda talked about a couple years ago, saying, ‘How do we support agriculture?’” Hatterman said. “There’s always that one, two or five people who have really made a difference in the last year. Either they brought up ideas, spent time getting stuff going — they’ve done what’s needed to help agriculture.”

The nomination process is easy, Hatterman says. All someone has to do is provide contact information for nominees, and the Ag Expo committee contacts them. The nominee fills out a form, and the committee makes a selection.

“The criteria is somebody who has really helped Eastern Washington agriculture,” Hatterman said. “That could be an implement dealer who has done something in terms of equipment, somebody who has been active politically or maybe it’s somebody who has developed something in regards to production. There certainly is a list of viable candidates out there who have helped to promote area agriculture.”

Nominees could also be an organization, group of people or youth.

Dedicated volunteers keep Ag Expo running smoothly Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:19:38 -0500 Matw Weaver SPOKANE — The Spokane Ag Expo wouldn’t come together without the hard work of its many volunteers.

Two longtime volunteers are Bill Nelson and Sybil Tresch.

Nelson has been involved since the first Expo, when he was an exhibitor.

“They hooked me many years ago,” he said, noting he gets a chance to catch up with longtime farmer friends at the Expo.

“Sometimes you don’t see them until you come to the show,” Tresch agreed. “There’s a lot of standing in the aisles and visiting. That’s fun to see. You recognize the long-term attendees.”

Tresch started volunteering in about 1991, serving as board president for two years and on various committees.

“I loved it, I liked the people I met, too,” she said.

Many of the longtime volunteers have demonstrated a rare loyalty not seen in other organizations, Tresch said. She estimated there are 10 or 12 volunteers who have been with the show since the beginning.

Nelson grew up on a farm in Davenport, Wash., and worked for a manufacturing company as sales manager.

Tresch lived on small acreage farms growing up, but her background is in finance.

Nelson and Tresch have been friends for a long time. They helped put on a horseshoe event in different communities around Spokane. The winners from each town used to compete at the expo.

Tresch believes the Expo remains an important function for farmers around the region, to see technology updates and receive continuing education credits.

Nelson said the show works to provide something new every year, to keep farmers coming back again and again.

Volunteers work to make sure the expo flows as smoothly as possible, drawing in quality attendance to interact with the show’s exhibitors, Nelson and Tresch said.

“Everyone who comes to the show is basically a qualified buyer,” Nelson said. “When I was exhibitor, I always had people that came to the show to see me and ask questions. It’s those kinds of relationships that you build by being an exhibitor.”

“We’re getting more young people, I think, that are interested,” Tresch said.

For aspiring new volunteers, Tresch recommends becoming acquainted with Greater Spokane Inc., and determining which committees may be the best fit.

Both Tresch and Nelson plan to continue working at the Expo.

2015 Spokane Ag Expo Exhibitors Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:13:32 -0500 Adams County Economic Development

Ag Energy Solutions

Ag Enterprise Supply Inc.

Ag Spray Equipment

AGCO Corp.


AGPRO Marketing & Manufacturing Inc.



Agricultural Innovations

Agri-Data Solution

Agritech Corp.

Agri-Trend Group of Companies

Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers

Ag-West Distributing

Air Filter Blaster

AKE Safety Equipment

A-L Compressed Gases Inc.

All Seasons Tree Service

Allsport Polaris Honda Yamaha

American Family Insurance

American Tile Carpet & Furniture

AquaTech Irrigation Supply

Ariens Co.

ATI Solutions

Augies Ag Sales

B&B Truck Service

Bank of Fairfield

Barber Engineering Co.

Barnes Welding Inc.

Barr-Tech LLC

Battery Systems

Bayer Crop Science

Berg Companies Inc.

Berg/Bowhead Environmental

Best Western Plus Wheatland Inn

BNP Lentil Co.

Booker Auction Co.

Bourgault Tillage Tools

Brown Bearing Co. Inc.

Buck & Affiliates Insurance West

Burlingame Machinery Consignments

Busch Distributors Inc.

ByoGon Northwest

C&S Construction of Spokane

Capital Insurance Group

Capital Press

Carpenter, McGuire & DeWulf, P.S.

Cascade Machinery


Champion Windows of Spokane

Choice Marketing Group

CHS — Energy

Class 8 Trucks

Cleary Building Co.

Colbalt Trailer Sales

Coeur d’Alene Tractor Inc.

Coleman Oil Co.

Columbia Bank

Columbia Hearing Centers

Columbia River Carbonates

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Connell Oil Inc.

Cookie Lee Jewelry

Cooperative Agricultural Producers Inc.

Cordex North America

Crop Insurance Solutions

Crop Production Services

Cross Slot USA

CSC Exteriors Inc.

Culligan of Spokane

Cummins Northwest LLC

D&J Farm Supply

Day Wireless Systems

Direct Automotive Distributing

Ditch Witch Northwest — A Papé company

Doughboys Tools & Equipment

Dream Room Design

DSI Recycling Systems Inc.

Dutch Industries

Eastern Washington Noxious Weed Boards

Eastern Washington PTAC

ED-KA Manufacturing

Edward Jones Investments

Eljay Oil Inc.

Ellis Equipment

Embroidery Wholesale

Evergreen Implement

Extreme Industrial Coatings

Farmer Stockman

Farmland Tractor Supply

Fasteners Inc.

FEI Inc.

Flexxifinger QD Industries Inc.

FMI Sales

Fogle Pump & Supply Inc.

G&R Ag Products

Gates Mfg. Inc.

General Implement Distributors

Genworth Long Term Care Insurance

George F. Brocke & Sons Inc.


Giant Rubber Water Tanks

Gibby Media Group

Global Equipment Co. Inc.

Global Harvest Foods/Mills, Intl.

Grange Insurance Group

Great Plains Mfg. Inc.

Greenacres Gypsum & Lime Co.

GSI Water Solutions Inc.

G-Tec Flitz LLC

Harold Ag & Mobile Products

Haskins Steel Co. Inc.

Haybuster/Duratech Industries

Hefty Seed Co.

Hillco Technologies Inc.

Hinrichs Trading Co.

Honeywell Safety Products

Hotsy of Spokane

HUB International Insurance

Industrial Communications

Industrial Iron Works

Industrial Systems & Fabrication Inc.

Intelligent Agricultural Solutions

IRZ Consulting

J.E. Love Co.

Jim Wilhite’s Bale Wagon LLC

Jimmy’s Roofing

Jones Truck & Implement

Junior Livestock Show of Spokane

Justis Brothers Chemicals

K&N Electric Motors Inc.

K 3 Herzog Distributors LLC

K102 Country

Kile Machine & Manufacturing Inc.

Kimball Midwest

Koch Agronomic Services

L&H Seeds

Landoll Corp.

LDJ Mfg. Inc., DBA: Thunder Creek Equipment

Les Schwab Tire Centers

Lexar Homes

LiquiTube Marketing International

Long Construction Inc.

M.D. Electric, LLC

Magnation Water Technologies

Mass Mutual Oregon

McKay Seed Co.

Meridian Manufacturing Group

Micro Ag Inc.

MK Commodities, White Wheat Report

Morgan Enterprises

Moss Adams LLC

Mountain High Truck and Equipment

Mountain View Equipment Co.

Mountain View MetalWorks

MPP Tools

MSQ Inc.

Mycorrhizol Applications Inc.


National Weather Service

Nick’s Custom Boots

Norco Inc.

North 40 Outfitters

North Pine Ag Equipment Inc.

Northstar Clean Concepts

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Northwest Farmland Management

Northwest Hose & Fittings

Northwest MedStar

Northwest Retail

Nu Skin Parmanex

Odessa Trading Co.

Oregon Blueberry Farms & Nursery

Overhead Door Co. of Spokane & Coeur d’Alene

Oxarc Inc.

Pacific Coast Canola LLC

Pacific Building Systems

Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association

Pacific Northwest Farmer’s Cooperative

Pacific Petroleum & Supply

Pacific Power Group

Palouse Welding & Machine Inc.

Papé Machinery

Papé Material Handling

Papé Rents

Photonic Water Systems LLC

Pioneer West

Pneu-Tek Tire Tools


Quality Fencing & Construction

Quality Steel Buildings Inc.

Quality Water Northwest

R&H Machine Inc.

R&M Steel Co.

Rainier Seeds Inc.

Reman Sales

Renewable by Andersen

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

Royal Organic Products

Reseler’s Custom Creations

Rodda Paint Co.

SCAFCO Grain Systems

Scales N.W.

Scales Unlimited

Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants

Schulte Industries LTD

Seeds Inc./Plants of the Wild

Skinner Tank Co. (STC)

Skone Irrigation & Supply LLC

Smith Chrome Plating Inc.

Snake River Adventures

Solid Structures

Soucy International

Spectrum Crop Development Corp./Progene LLC

Spokane Comm. College Environmental Sciences Dept.

Spokane Conservation District

Spokane House of Hose

Spokane Post Frame Inc.

Spokane Seed Co.

Spray Center Electronics Inc.

Sprayflex Sprayers Inc.

SS Equipment Inc.

St. John Hardware & Implement

Star Rentals Inc.

Steel Structures America Inc.

Stinger, Ltd.

Stoess Manufacturing

Stoneway Electrical Supply


Summers Mfg. Co.

Superior Steel Products Inc.

SureFire Ag Systems Inc.


Systems West LLC

T&S Sales

The Concrete Doctor

The Exchange Newspaper

The McGregor Company

Titan Truck Equipment & Accessories Co. Inc.

TNT Truck Parts

Tomboy Tools/Project Home

Touchmark on South Hill

Town & Country Builders Inc.

Tractor House

Trans Canada-GTN

University of Idaho-College of Ag & Life Sciences


USDA NASS (National Ag Statistics Service)

Valley Synthetics

Vermeer Manufacturing Co.

Visit Spokane


Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Washington AgForestry Leadership Foundation

Washington Cattlemen’s Association

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Grain Alliance/WAWG

Washington Grown

Washington State Grange

Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Div.

Washington Tractor

Washington Trust Bank

West Coast Seed Mill Supply Co.

Western Farm Ranch & Dairy

Western Reclamation Inc.

Western States Agriculture Solutions

Western Trailer Sales Co.

Wheatland Bank

Wheeler Industries

Whiskey Creek Originals

Whitley Fuel LLC

Wilbur-Ellis Co.

WRS-Western Refinery Services


WSU Spokane County Extension

Xpain Solutions

Ziegler Lumber (Ziggy’s)

Zions Bank

2015 show hours at a glance Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:13:05 -0500

2015 Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum tickets Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:12:43 -0500 2015 Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum hosts Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:12:16 -0500 Career fair highlights options for students Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:10:46 -0500 Matw Weaver FFA members will go from learning about career options at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum to meeting potential employers.

The Expo offers a career fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, following the FFA presentation on the many opportunities agriculture presents.

Many teenagers are unaware of the career opportunities in agriculture, so Expo organizers reached out to businesses to talk about the many careers that are available. In addition to farming and ranching, they include accounting, legal, marketing, finance, technology, sales, machinery design and maintenance and management.

“Our goal is basically to enlighten the high school students about the tremendous opportunities there are,” said Myrna O’Leary, director of the Expo.

O’Leary said 600 to 700 students typically attend the FFA presentation. She encourages FFA advisors to have their students attend.

“There will be plenty of time to go through the career fair and hit the show floor, too,” she said.

“Whenever my students can see the opportunities that may be available to them in the ag industry, they then can see themselves in those careers,” said Allen Skoog, advisor for the Cheney, Wash., FFA. “The possibilities in the industry open up to them in their minds. This is especially true for nontraditional career opportunities for women and minorities.”

Students can see the application of their learning in school in many areas represented during the career fair and the Expo, Skoog said.

“Students should consider a career in agriculture because it is so diverse and the science, marketing, business and communication skills they learn in school in their ag course work (relate) directly to industry,” he said.

“Employers should know that these students will come to them with knowledge in communication, sciences, mechanics, et cetera,” Skoog said. “They will also come to them with strong values and work ethic that will be an asset to their company. These students who wear the blue jacket of the National FFA Organization are the future of our country and are the cream of the crop.”

Students who go through the career fair will get a ticket to enter a drawing for iTune cards.

The career fair will be in one of the new breakout rooms near the new north entrance of the Spokane Convention Center. Event sponsors are Carpenter, McGuire & DeWulf; Wheeler Industries Inc., and Washington Tractor Inc.