For the last seven years, I've walked past the World Ag Expo's power tools tent in awe of the loud noises and sparks flying. On Thursday, I decided to give it a whirl. I got my first lesson in welding and cutting through steel.
Vendors inside the tent not only sell a wide range of power tools but they demonstrate and let people test them out, too. I got a full tutorial from Miller Welding Equipment.
As the third day of the expo wrapped up, vendors said weeklong sunny weather helped forge new customers and make sales.
More than 50 countries were represented at the 47th annual World Ag Expo. An estimated 100,000 people head to the show every year to check out the latest in agriculture technology on the 26-acre Tulare property.
George Loogman from California Tomato Machinery out of Madera said the show is a great way for them to connect to people who don't always get the chance to see the large equipment in person.
"Sometimes we do make a few sales, and in a lot of cases we actually sold a lot of the machines that we're going to sell for the year, and you know we're already preparing for 2014 production with our numbers," said Loogman.
The dairy pavilion had a steady stream of people checking out the latest tools and technology for dairy farmers. A machine made by Vaughn Company in Washington State is a chopper pump that helps prevent clogging at dairies. The family-owned business has been coming to the ag show for decades and says having a product that people can actually see working helps them connect with customers.
"Just the presence being here. We started as an ag company in the 1960s, so we just feel like we should always be there," said Rick Boyer with the Vaughn Company.
The ag show is also a big boost for the local economy. Here's a fun fact: more than 9,000 donuts are consumed just for the hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors at the expo.