World Ag Expo set to kick off first-ever online show

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There's no need to throw on your cowboy boots for this year's farm show.

In fact, you can kick your feet up and attend the virtual event from the comfort of your own couch.

Head to WorldAgExpo.com to connect with vendors, participate in an educational seminar, or watch a live demonstration.

"If you want to interact with those exhibitors, watch seminars, get in on some live chats, you will need to set up a free account," International Agri-Center Marketing Manager Jennifer Fawkes said. "It's called My Show Planner. You can choose if you want to share your information with exhibitors. We encourage you to do so. It's a trade show, they just want to help you."

Fawkes says around 700 exhibitors signed up for the digital show. That's half of last year's total.

But Fawkes says they're proud of that number, and have been impressed to see how various vendors have adapted to the new format.

Take for example Valley-based Electric Motor Shop & Supply, which built a studio ahead of the 2021 World Ag Expo.

Automation team lead Jacob DeOliveira will host webinars from the high-tech site starting on Tuesday morning.

"It's just different," DeOliveira said. "It's not something that we've ever done before. It's not something I've ever done before. I came from (an) electrical engineering background."

DeOliveira says the show has become a staple for Electric Motor Shop & Supply, so they weren't going to sit this year's event out.

"We've provided our business, we've stayed essential, and we need to make sure that we keep our presence here, make sure that people know that we haven't skipped a beat at all," DeOliveira said.

Roma Lodge #1573 has been serving Italian sausage sandwiches at the World Ag Expo since its inception.

"First we boil it, then we barbeque it, and then we have sautéed onions to go on it," Roma Lodge #1573 President Larry Dutto said.

It's an opportunity for the non-profit to raise money for other local organizations. But this year, there won't be anyone to feed, and that's been tough for Dutto to swallow.

"At each monthly meeting, which we haven't been able to have, we are solicited by local high school groups, community groups, the 4-H, the FFA, whatever, asking for support," Dutto explained. "So when you cut out your two major fundraisers, it's difficult for the organization to continue to support those groups."

Things will look very different in Tulare this week.

But the show goes on, and organizers are already preparing for a return to normal festivities in 2022.
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