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September 23, 2010   Email to Friend 

Sunbelt Ag Expo Offers Farmers A Harvest Break
Darryal Ray

The Expo offers rides on covered shuttle wagons to carry visitors to the fields where they'll see a wide selection of equipment taking part in the harvesting and tillage demonstrations.
Farm families looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy fall harvest season will soon get that chance at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show Oct. 19-21 near Moultrie, Ga.

"The Sunbelt Expo is an annual extravaganza of agricultural technology," says Chip Blalock, the farm show's director. "Now in its 33rd year, the Expo has become North America's Premier Farm Show. Our goal is to bring together more than 1,200 exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors in our 100-acre exhibit area.

During three days in the middle of the week, we provide a convenient venue that allows everyone to exchange ideas and see what's new in the business of providing safe supplies of food, fiber and shelter for American consumers."

The Expo also gained a reputation for Southern hospitality in welcoming exhibitors from throughout the U.S. and the world. "Most of our exhibitors come back year after year," says Blalock. Blalock says the Expo is distinct among agricultural trade shows because it gives farmers a chance to get up-close to check out new machinery working in the crop fields of a 600-acre research farm.

Crops on the farm include cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and hay. The Expo offers rides on covered shuttle wagons to carry visitors to the fields where they'll see a wide selection of equipment taking part in the harvesting and tillage demonstrations.

Visitors will also be able to drive some of the tractors, especially those equipped with automated steering and other precision farming technology.

This year, Blalock is excited about the newly constructed Dairy Pavilion. "Dairy is a sector of our show which has seen continued growth each year. This new pavilion will provide a permanent home for those educational and commercial exhibits as well as seminars and demos targeted specifically towards the dairy industry."We will have seminar presentations and special exhibit sections on beef cattle, horses, sheep and goats, alpacas, poultry, show pigs and fish ponds," says Blalock.

"Anyone interested in raising animals would benefit from a trip to Expo. New in our educational seminars series is our partnership with the Irrigation Association. The association has worked with several of their members to provide a half day of seminars on topics relating to irrigation and water management issues."

One group of exhibits will feature portable sawmills and equipment used in forestry. Other exhibits will showcase irrigation equipment, livestock equipment, new pickups and all-terrain vehicles. Software and hardware that allows for crop yield monitoring, automated tractor steering and variable-rate application of farm chemicals will also be featured in precision farming exhibits at the show.

While most of the exhibits are geared to the interests of commercial farmers, the Expo also provides family entertainment with events such as stock dog trials and antique tractor parades. The show's hunting and fishing exhibitors will return with tips on bringing in wild game and catching trophy-size fish.

Family Living exhibits will offer a variety of cooking demonstrations, artwork by artist Jack DeLoney, a variety of food items, cookbooks and informational booths on travel and leisure.

The Family Living Building will also be the new home of the Backyard Gardening Section. The popular section offers seminars geared to backyard gardening and covers topics such as organic production, raised bed vegetable culture, fertilization and soil management.

The farm show has also partnered with agricultural colleges and universities from throughout the Southeast to provide information from the latest agricultural research that could benefit farmers in the region.

The Expo is on Georgia Highway 133, southeast of Moultrie. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. daily. Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under age 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Advance tickets are $8, but must be ordered by Oct. 7. A three-day pass is available for $20. For more information, visit SunbeltExpo.com.



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