2014 World Ag Expo kicks off in Tulare

TULARE, Calif.

The show kicked off with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at the International Agri-Center, 4450 South Laspina St.

The expo attracts people from the Valley and around the world who want to see the latest products to help improve the agricultural industry.

Some 1,500 exhibitors will be on hand, and about 100,000 people are expected to attend the show, which runs for three days.

Companies see the expo as a big opportunity to show their products to a large audience.

"There's a wide range of products, anything from orchard equipment to online software; we even have remotely-operated equipment out here, so there's a wide range of products that people can come and check out," World Ag Expo spokesperson Liza Teixera said.

Among the rows and rows of Ag exhibitors many businesses have the latest and greatest technology to show off including DeLaval Inc. from Chicago IL.

"We're certainly very excited for what this is going to bring to the dairy industry," DeLaval marketing manager Mark Futcher said.

For the first time in the U.S. the company debuted its automatic feeding solution for dairy farms called the FPM300.

"And they push it away from them over time, so that it's out of their reach out to perhaps as far as this point and although there is feed, they can't reach it anymore. So this pushes it back closer to them, tumbles it a bit and reduces sorting," Futcher said.

The use of FPM300 means more food for the cow and more milk for the farmer. Futcher says it cuts down on labor costs. A solution he says is simple.

Peter Shaw from Olson Irrigation systems out of San Diego says many growers are stopping by his booth. They are interested in ways to save water especially while California is in the midst of an historic drought. He's selling a low-flow water filtration system that saves water and requires no power.

"It's not this year it's the following years that concerns us also so there's going to be a lot of people looking for you know future capabilities of dealing with the drought," Shaw said.

"Everybody is feeling the effect of the drought and it's unfortunately reacting too late to something we know is an existing problem," Le Grand citrus farmer Tom Stillman said.

Many growers spent the day taking notes on new water saving technology to help them maximize on the water they do have.

"I have a bag full of micro spray filtering and everything for water systems absolutely," Stillman said.

"We also farm 500 acres and we're concerned whether we're going to have enough water we've already had to go a little deeper with our wells," Exeter dairyman John Brower said.

Brower said he already had to let one field go dry because he couldn't get the right parts to fix a well that needed to go deeper.

"I know they have several seminars this week they're talking about the water," Brower said.

California Ag Secretary Karen Ross was also at the Ag show Tuesday. She was also interested in checking out new equipment to help growers. She called the current drought situation scary.

"It's really what are the ways we can't make rain what are the ways we can work together to mitigate the impacts as much as possible," Ross said.

Governor Jerry Brown will be here in Tulare. He is attending a meeting with the Ag council on high speed rail and then is expected to take a tour of the world Ag expo grounds.

The expo runs Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $15.

For more information, call (559) 688-1030 or visit www.worldagexpo.com.

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