Tulare, Calif.- Exhibitors awash in sales, the first-ever FFA Assembly, huge crowds and sunny skies created a memorable 44th edition of World Ag Expo.
The sunshine and the reputation of World Ag Expo drew a sea of attendees to opening day - and the good news is that they were looking to buy.
OXBO International's Brent Borboa said the week is "off to a good start" on opening day, with "the right people here today - the decision-makers." He is finding a lot of interest in his product, and "more optimism" this year.
Mike Caruso, with Top-10 New Product winner AMSOIL, called the show "awesome."
First-time exhibitor Johnny Georges of Tree T Pee had to retreat to his rental car just to get some rest from the flood of buyers and interested distributors. He has been "overwhelmed" by the interest from distributors and a "continuing flow" of buyers interested in his citrus product.
Attendee and Forage Challenge award winner Kelly Callahan, of Royal City, Wash., has been to World Ag Expo for the past 12 years. He and his family farm 3,000 acres, operate a 1,500-cow dairy, raise apples, operate a gravel pit and a construction company and have a well-drilling enterprise. To equip those businesses, the family "spends about a quarter of a million dollars" on equipment in the year after World Ag Expo.
"We do all our research here, and then go back home and buy," Callahan said. "Our equipment needs are so diverse we really have to see the whole show."
The international reputation of World Ag Expo drew 1,204 registered attendees from 64 nations, and 50 exhibitors from 13 nations, including China, Turkey, Netherlands, Austria and India. A committee of 127 translators offer translation for 20 different languages
A farm family from Ghana was enjoying the hospitality of the International Business Center on Wednesday, resting after their first tour of the show grounds and planning their strategy for the second tour.
Patriarch of the farming operation, AA Salam Akate, attended World Ag Expo previously, and this time brought his family, partners in the diversified operation. They grow maize and citrus, and have livestock and poultry. They were impressed by the size of ag equipment on display and were enjoying learning how to grow and harvest more efficiently - and hoping to purchase equipment.
World Ag Expo is all about business and education - with some fun thrown in for good measure. This year's edition featured a two-night concert series, an FFA Assembly for more than 2,000 students and a flash mob dance on Median Street, as well as cooking demonstrations and fashion shows at the World Ag Women Pavilion.