The old air base hangers provide a unique backdrop against the crowds at Sunbelt Ag Expo. Officials estimate 100,000 people attended the three-day event. (Special Photo: David Shivers)
MOULTRIE — A short 40-mile drive from Albany, the Sunbelt Ag Expo wrapped up its 2013 event on Thursday having seen an estimated 100,000 visitors come through its gates. The Expo completed its 35th year and is reported to be the preeminent agricultural event in North America.
A walk around the grounds of the exposition at the old Spence Army Air Field revealed that the attractions appeal not only to farmers and agribusiness people. Men and women, young and old, parents pushing babies in strollers become more prevalent as the day grew longer, with exhibition halls such as the Family Life Building and the University of Georgia hall becoming packed to capacity with visitors and exhibitors.
Available for inspection across the grounds were every manner of farm equipment, from the expected latest in tractors and other machinery to irrigation equipment, fencing, and at least one crop-dusting aircraft. Meanwhile, indoors were hundreds of display that were a virtual A to Z of goods and services.
Dozens of food outlets were also on hand with everything from the usual fair fare of hotdogs, hamburgers, barbecue, polish sausage, and funnel cakes to homemade ice cream and Southern cooking.
Among the information-dispensing exhibitors seen were Albany Technical College. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension held forth in a corner of the Family Life Building with Southwest Georgia Master Gardener volunteers manning the information table while Dougherty County Extension agent James Morgan and Master Gardener Ron Wolfe delivered presentations on tree and shrub pruning and camellia growing, respectively.
Rodeo acts were taking place during the day, as well as stock dog trials. Nearby, interested youngsters watched as a Georgia Dairy Association representative gave a hands-on demonstration of milking a cow and as well as how cows are machine-milked, along with spilling information such as that dairy cows don’t produce milk until after they’ve had a first calf. Among the unusual livestock on-site were llamas and alpacas.