In addition to cotton, the Expo farm fields feature other major crops grown in Georgia, including peanuts, corn, soybeans and forages for haymaking.

Tractor-drawn covered shuttle wagons will transport visitors to the fields to see the popular harvesting and tillage demonstrations. On the way, visitors will be able to get off the wagons and test drive GMC trucks or any number of new tractors, many of them equipped with global positioning systems and other precision farming technology.

As a real farm, the Expo copes with the same weather challenges as other farms in the region.

This year, for example, the Expo farm was challenged by extreme drought, the same drought that harmed crops throughout the Southeast. Fortunately, at Expo irrigation is the norm rather than the exception. Irrigation systems operated non-stop, particularly during the dry months of May and June.

The irrigation systems at Expo are among the best in the nation, featuring variable rate water application, efficient nozzles and flow meters to verify the amount of water applied each season.

This year, the Expo farm welcomes the addition of a new eight-tower Reinke center pivot system that will cover 150 acres. The new irrigation system features the latest technology in telemetry, Nelson nozzles and a built-in weather station. 

The telemetry technology includes computer-based links to connect the pivot and its pumping system to a centralized computer.

The weather station will collect and report real-time weather as well as historical weather data, information that will be combined with system’s operating history and plant water requirements to efficiently schedule irrigation for the crops.

The Sunbelt Expo helps to sponsor the farming profession’s most prestigious award in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program.

Nine outstanding farmers have been selected as state winners from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. One of these farmers will announced as the overall Farmer of the Year winner at a luncheon to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The Expo extends a special invitation and welcome to visitors from Arkansas. The diverse agriculture in this state will be highlighted for the first time in a special spotlight state exhibit.

The American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials returns to showcase some of the nation’s top Border Collie dogs as they move both cattle and sheep through a number of obstacles and into pens in a large grassed field close to the exhibits.