World Ag Expo Marks 46th Edition

Feb 12, 2013 No Comments by

TULARE – People from 90 different countries around the world are converging on the World Ag Expo in Tulare from today through Thursday looking for exhibitors whose products they wish to purchase and learning about ways to grow their crops more efficiently.

Jerry Sinift, CEO of the International Agri-Center, said this year’s show is sold out with about 1,500 exhibitors, and there are 70 companies on the waiting list for space.  Part of the excitement of this year’s show is the Ag Warriors Benefit on Wednesday night, featuring special keynote speaker Marine Col. Oliver L. North.  A decorated war hero, his other accolades include being a New York Times best-selling author and a small business founder.

 


“Oliver North is pretty passionate about agriculture and the veterans returning, men and women looking for opportunities coming back from the war,” Sinift said.

The Ag Warriors program kicked off one year ago during a benefit with President George W. Bush.  Its goal is to get local veterans work in the agricultural industry.  Sinift said there are currently 10 interns working with exhibitors this year, gaining firsthand experience.  There are also 30-40 applicants, and a database of hundreds of ag industry partners looking to hire.

New on the show grounds is the 60,000 square foot Building C, which replaces the old tent structure Pavilion C.

“It’s a nice metal building on a cement floor, with nice permanent restrooms,” Sinift said.  “It is housing those exhibitors that were always in C.”

North won’t be the only special guest at this year’s World Ag Expo.  Also attending are South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Secretary of Agriculture Walt Bones.  They will on hand Wednesday to promote the valuable dairy opportunities that are in South Dakota.

As is the tradition, a longtime volunteer of the World Ag Expo has been named this year’s chairman.  Chair Joe Raney has donned the orange jacket Expo volunteers typically wear for nearly 18 years, but has been involved with the shows since 1968, working at the first aid station when he was employed by the Tulare Fire Department.  Those were the days without radios or a communication system.  After the Expo move to its current location in 1982, an old Suburban was converted into a command post, with radios for everyone.  Raney became an orange jacket volunteer in 1995 after retiring from the fire department, and has stayed one ever since.  He also is the co-chair of the Safety Committee.

“I’m humbled by the fact that they decided that I should be the chairman, and pick me to do that,” Raney said.  “It’s a big undertaking, whenever you consider the outbounds of everything on here.”

Check out www.BusinessStreetOnline.com over the next couple of days to learn about some of the products that are impressing attendees at this year’s World Ag Expo.

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About the author

James Olinger is a native of the San Joaquin Valley. He graduated from West Hills College in Coalinga, California in 2000 with an associate's degree in liberal arts. He joined Business Street in 2004 as a staff writer, and became the associate editor in 2007. He maintains that position today, writing for Business Street Online in a variety of topics.
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