Ag at Large: Annual equipment displays approach

World Ag Expo, the largest annual agricultural show of its kind with 1,500 exhibitors, showcases the latest cutting-edge agricultural technology and farm equipment on 2.6 million square feet of show grounds. This year’s Expo is set for Feb. 13-15 at International Agri-Center in Tulare. (International Agri-Center)

After 53 and 51 years of staging annual farm equipment extravaganzas, often in drizzly February weather, you might think enthusiasm is slacking, but the big farm equipment shows are coming and excitement is building.

The first, calling itself “The Granddaddy of Them All,” is the Colusa Farm Show at Colusa County Fairgrounds (Feb. 6-8). Close behind is the internationally prominent World Ag Expo on its own show grounds in Tulare (Feb. 13-15).

Major and minor farm equipment dealers throughout the country have been preparing and shipping equipment and display materials to both locations for weeks, where their indoor and outdoor display spaces are being attractively arranged in anticipation of thousands of visitors, many of them potential customers.

Statewide, farmers and their friends – thinking that 2018 might be the year to invest in new, larger, easier to operate and more reliable farm equipment – are clearing their calendars of any activity that might keep them from attending. They cherish the opportunity to size up competing brands of tractors, harvesters, cultivators, haulers, loaders and dozens of specialized pieces that might apply to the crops they grow.

And they won’t forget to kick some tires, especially of the pickups on display, the brand that has been their favorite for 25 years or one from the competitors. They can take a demonstration drive in many cases, and take armloads of literature that will continue to tempt them if they don’t make a deal while they are on the grounds.

For the second year, the operation of moving equipment is prominently featured at World Ag Expo in a previously unoccupied location now furnished with bleachers and quiet spaces where prospective buyers can complete arrangements after enjoying a few laps around the arena.

Before they get behind the wheel for a test drive, they can park their own vehicle free at either show. Tulare’s World Ag Expo offers 65 acres for parking on well packed and graded surface, and the Colusa Farm Show allows exhibitors to park on the grounds, with visitors on adjoining streets. World Ag Expo also offers a selection of shuttle bus rides from convenient stops near and far from the grounds. The most recent one is located in Exeter.

Food is a major attraction at both shows, with donuts galore in the mornings, and lunchtime food aromas beginning to waft about 10:30 a.m. A total of 19 schools, clubs or public service organizations occupy booths along a green belt within the vast, 65-acre show grounds at World Ag Expo. Near each are tables, chairs, bleachers or other facilities to make dining comfortable.

At the Colusa show, a major dining event is the traditional exhibitor’s breakfast. Last year’s was held at the nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Social Hall, which offers a roomy dining area.

Gaining popularity every year are the indoor seminars on a dozen topics offered both at Colusa and World Ag Expo. Either the captivating topics dealing with on-farm issues or the opportunity to sit down comfortably for a few minutes makes them increasingly attractive.

For the third consecutive year, the exhibitors at World Ag Expo will be treated to an after-hours gathering just outside the south gate to the grounds in a temporary pavilion. Entertainment will be announced, with host duties by Budweiser.

Internet connections at both shows have been improved through the years to that each display booth or larger space seems like an extension of the occupant’s home office. Areas to customers to complete contracts or business documents are readily available.

The three-day shows may be temporary, but for more than 50 years each has made a lasting impact on the commerce of vital farm equipment in a vital farm state.


 

Don Curlee :Don Curlee is your man when it comes to Agriculture. His Ag Alert column in our publication is sure to inform you on what you need to know when it comes to the agricultural industry.