After a successful Tuesday morning launch, visitors from all over the world continue to flock to the International Agri-Center for the 53rd annual World Ag Expo.
Featured events are Women in Ag, Toyota Giveaway, the Wine and Cheese Pavilion, Ag tours, scholarships, and seminars. The Expo covers 2.6 million square feet including a variety of food and beverage vendors for all ages.
According to Exhibitor Services Director Jennifer Hawkes, the show is growing in a number of directions. Representatives from 49 states and 70 countries will have the once-a-year chance to field queries from potential customers and network with each other in person regarding possible collaborations and mergers.
Three of the 2020 top-ten New Products Competition winners to be featured at the Expo are from the Central Valley: Cotton Folding Attachment by Berbereia Engineering and Manufacturing from Tulare, CPH Silt & Sand Separators by Epiphene, Inc. from Clovis, and Bravo-1 by S&S Metal Fabrication, Inc. from Kingsburg.
Following the opening ceremonies, CEO of the Agri-Center, as well as 25-year exhibitor veteran Jerry Sinift, shared his enthusiasm and experience:
“The synergy here with 1400 volunteers and 25 paid staff reflects the energy and the kickoff of the growing season. There are people that get together and share experiences here that normally wouldn’t meet. It’s not just about the amazing tech innovations. There are also innovations in marketing and finance as the industry constantly evolves.”
That being said, tech advancements are almost something out of science-fiction. “We are excited about the potential of electric equipment as well as options like the driver-optional tractor and other automated machines,” explained 2020 World Ag Expo Chairman Jim Parsley. “Just one example is the technology from Cainthus of Dublin. It performs facial recognition on thousands of dairy cows in order to keep milk from cows temporarily treated with antibiotics out of the general load and thus provides the natural, pure product we are used to while saving time and labor costs.”
Volunteer since 1989 and Building Media Relations Specialist Andre Khal had this to say:
“I used to own a business called Santa Rosa Plums so I have many years experience in addition to my work with the Agri-Center. The money farmers are saving with new technology is coupled with enhancements in safety. With many machines you don’t need ladders anymore to pick fruit trees. This cuts down on injuries, the time it takes to shift the ladders, and the liability for farmers. Workman’s Comp is automatically cheaper.”
Also following Opening Ceremonies CEO Hanka Gabrielova made a pro-hemp presentation in the Agri-Center’s Banquet Hall outlining his success in Europe. Hanka is accredited by the Czech Ministry of Agriculture as an adviser in organic farming with a specialization in hemp.
“Hemp is the new tool in the box,” added upcoming 2021 Chairman Steve Wilbur.
In one of the crown jewels of the 2020 Expo, the new Hemp Pavilion, experts described the potential in detail during the media tour Monday morning,
“Hemp is new to a lot of farmers but it has been around since the advent of this country,” said Christian Gray, strategic consultant for Hilo Seed Co and founder of Cannabis Capital Corporation and Atlas Consulting Inc. “Hemp can bridge two cultures: city culture and agrarian culture.”
Atlas partner and co-creator of The Hemp Innovation Challenge, Mike Reid shared his excitement. “Hemp innovators from five continents have submitted entries to our contest with unique ideas. It’s a hemp innovation nation, baby!”
Finalists will be judged in the theatre Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Reid went on to describe how a Dr. Dushenkov of Russia used hemp to eliminate radiation from the grounds of former nuclear plant turned disaster at Chernobyl, suggesting that waste in other sites around the world also deemed irreparable can be cleaned up.