The star power of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may have kicked off opening day, but it was the appeal of 1,600 exhibitors displaying the latest in farm equipment, chemicals, communications and technology that drew 100,000 attendees to all three days of World Ag Expo.
Held Feb. 9-11, 2010, in Tulare, Calif. World Ag Expo marked its 43rd year with a "Powering Global Agriculture” theme.
Considered the world's largest annual farm and equipment show, World Ag Expo generated $280 million in sales during its three-day run, according to Steve Knudsen, the event's director of communications. The event delivers a year-round economic impact of $1.2 billion for the local economy, he added.
World Ag Expo's 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space almost wasn't enough for 2010.
"We were four exhibit spaces away from being sold out this year,” Knudsen said.
Opening-day rains and muddy ground made getting to exhibits tricky but didn't stop attendees.
"The rain might have held down attendance on Tuesday but the people who stopped were serious, and I sold a unit in the first hour of the first day,” said Larry Scheiler of Scheiler Harvesting.
Scheiler, of Terra Bella, Calif., generated "at least 10 good leads” displaying his Forklift 180 Degree Bin Inverter. The equipment, which sells for $6,500, was named one of World Ag Expo's 2010 Top-10 New Products.
Another Top-10 New Product on display was the Hoof Supervisor System. Designed for hoof trimmers and dairy owners, the Hoof Supervisor helps manage hoof health care.
The $6,000 unit is a "portable chute-side data recording system for hoof trimmers,” said Keith Sather, Supervisor Systems' owner and creator. Its sophisticated software program allows hoof trimmers to record, store and analyze data for each cow's trim session, using a portable touch screen.
"This is no ordinary computer,” Sather said. "It's been ruggedized. It will take a four-foot drop, so if it falls off the chute, it's no big deal. Just pick it up and keep on going.”
Sather also said the portable computer is readable in direct sunlight and trimmers can keep their gloves on while operating it. "When it gets full of manure, just spray it off with a hose,” he added. "It's something that will survive in the environment of the hoof trimmer.”
World Ag Expo also featured newcomer Humdinger Equipment of Lubbock, Texas. The company sold three units in one day and drew the interest of local farmers as well as those from Canada, Minnesota, South Dakota and Michigan.
The Humdinger, with a $70,000 price tag, eliminates up to five different implements. It allows a grower to enter the field once after harvest and again just before planting, reducing passes to two rather than four or five, Humdinger's Scott Rundell said. The implement is used in a variety of commodities, including rice, milo, corn, cotton, wheat and beans.
For the first time, World Ag Expo held an Attendees' Choice Away to allow show-goers to determine which Top-10 New Product was considered the most innovative. The contest used a five-star rating system. Attendees voted online prior to the expo. During the show, votes were cast at the New Product Pavilion.
More than 2,000 votes were cast in the inaugural Attendees' Choice Award. With 570 votes and an average of 4 stars per vote, Magswitch Magnets was named the winner.
Distributed by Forney, Magswitch Magnets feature advanced switchable magnetic technology. Forney says they offer farmers and ranchers a faster, more precise and easier-to-use alternative to clamp, hold, position or lift ferrous steel for fabrication, welding, wood working projects and general repair projects.
As Schwarzenegger toured the grounds, A.G. Kawamura, who heads the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), oversaw the signing of three memoranda of understanding to support dairy waste-to-energy projects.
At an opening day news conference, Kawamura joined three Central Valley dairy producers, a power provider representative and a dairy digester manufacturer.
They were there to announce three new dairy digester pilot projects in California. Because of their ability both to capture greenhouse gases and to convert manure into renewable energy, dairy digesters are a high priority of the Schwarzenegger administration.
"It's an exciting time for agriculture as we look at the ‘green' economy and the solutions ag can play,” Kawamura said.
Winner of World Ag Expo's 2010 FFA Toyota Tundra Giveaway was Tony Adayan of Parlier, Calif. Adayan won the $30,000 grand-prize truck, a new 2010 5.7L V8 Toyota 4x2 Tundra Grade Crew Max, in a drawing on the final day of the show. Funds raised from the giveaway will go directly to benefit two Future Farmers of America chapters in California's Central Valley.