Valentine’s Day is not why farmers are getting excited. The 2019 World Ag Expo is just days away.
The three-day event opens Tuesday at the International Agri-Center in Tulare where the massive grounds will be carpeted with more than 1,500 exhibitors and well over 100,000 visitors from as far away as Italy.
Last year, foreign visitors from 63 countries descended on the expo, the largest event of its kind in the world.
The show features the latest in farm equipment and technology. You will see massive harvesters, robotic milking machines and wireless irrigation valve control systems. There are a wide variety of seminars on topics including growing industrial hemp, dairy cow health, international trade and food safety.
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A complete schedule of the three-day expo, including park and ride locations, can be found at www.worldagexpo.com.
Here are four things you need to know about this year’s expo:
Conference for women
This year there will be a special one-day mini-conference for women ages 16 to 26 who are interested in agriculture. The event is called Grow by FarmHer and will be held on Wednesday in the Heritage Complex building.
Founded by Marji Guyler-Alaniz, FarmHer is an organization promoting women in agriculture through photos, videos, podcasts and seminars.
Expo Chairman Carla Khal said the mini-conference is a first for the expo and will feature a panel of women farmers sharing their experiences. The keynote speaker will be Karen Musson, managing partner of Gar Tootelian, a farm chemical company based in Reedley.
“We are really excited to have them here and to promote women in agriculture and the potential careers that are available,” Khal said.
To register for the event visit FarmHer’s website at www.farmher.com/pages/worldagexpo.
To help ease the parking, the agri-center has added 20 acres of parking on the east side of the grounds. RV camping and parking has been moved to the south end.
Khal said the expo also will try something new this year: using unique, gate-numbered stamps on visitor’s hands to help them find their cars in the massive parking lot. The stamp will show the gate number where they entered.
“Hopefully that will make it easier,” Khal said.
And just like previous years, there will be no shortage of orange-jacketed volunteers to help you find your way. The expo has more than 1,400 volunteers. It’s the largest show of its kind whose staff is largely volunteer. Chairman Kahl herself is a longtime volunteer.
Tractors, dairies and dogs
The expo is attended by the industry’s major tractor dealers, including Case IH, John Deere and New Holland.
There is a separate building housing dairy-related technology, supplies and equipment.
Also new to the expo this year will be daily livestock dog demonstrations in the Demonstration Pavilion.
Top 10 new products
Expected to get lots of attention are the winners of the Top 10 New Product award. The winners include motorized pruning equipment for table grape vineyards, a tire sealant system and an electronic forklift.
You can find the new product winners on the expo map by searching for the “Top-10 Winner” symbol.