This year marks the 36th anniversary of farm-related innovation and education for the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition.

If you are involved in agriculture, make your plans to attend this eventful three-day celebration, to be held Oct. 15-17, near Moultrie, Ga.

The Sunbelt Expo is North America’s Premier Farm Show, offering some 300 seminars and demonstrations during the three days that will appeal to farm families and rural enthusiasts. This year’s show will have more than 1,200 exhibits, many of them featuring cutting-edge farm production technology.

Harvesting and tillage demonstrations set the Expo apart from other static agricultural trade shows. This year, you’ll see a major change in the operation of the shuttle wagons that take visitors to the crop fields. For the first time, you’ll be able to take a shuttle ride to specific locations.

For instance, if you want to see cotton harvesting, there will be designated shuttle wagons for that route. Or if you want to see hay harvesting, you can take a shuttle that will go directly to the hay fields. The same is true for peanut harvesting. The change this year will allow you to save time in getting to and from the field demonstrations that are most important for your farming operation.

This year’s Expo will feature corn and soybean harvesting demonstrations for the first time in many years. Corn and soybean harvesting were popular during the early years of Expo, but as acreage of these crops declined, these demonstrations were dropped from the field demonstration schedule.

Higher prices in recent years for both corn and soybeans and an accompanying increase in bean and corn acreage in the Southeast have helped to convince major equipment manufacturers to show off their newest grain combines during the 2013 Expo.

Corn, soybean harvest schedule

Corn and soybean harvesting will only take place on Tuesday and Wednesday of the show, and for a limited time. On those two days, the corn will be picked at 11 a.m. and the soybeans will be harvested at 1 p.m.

You can download an appfor your smart phone and other handheld devices to get updates on demonstrations and events. The Sunbelt Expo Mobile App is available for the third consecutive year from Penton Media, publisher of Southeast Farm Pressand this official Expo program. The mobile app will also keep you heading in the right direction during your time in the exhibit grounds. (The app can be downloaded by clicking on the icon at the bottom of this website’s homepage).

Florida is this year’s spotlight state at the farm show. The Florida exhibit (location B-6) will feature the theme of Viva Florida 500. This is a celebration of the 500 years since Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon arrived on the shores of Florida in 1513 and gave the state its name.

While Florida’s Native American heritage dates back more than 12,000 years, Spain’s claim in 1513 began a new era. Viva Florida 500 promotes the state as a place where the world’s cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America. A ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the Florida spotlight state exhibit will be held on the opening day of the show.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, is a day set aside for activities for Young Farmers and their families. These events will include the traditional pork barbeque cooking contest, the horseshoe pitching tournament, and an evening dinner with entertainment and valuable door prizes.

Titan/Goodyear will again sponsor a tire auction during the first two days of the show, with proceeds benefiting the Georgia FFA Foundation. Since the auction began, more than $250,000 has been raised for Georgia FFA. The auction will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday (location A-3). You’ll find a wide variety of tires that can be used on all terrain vehicles, combines, small tractors and logging equipment.

Test drive pickup trucks

The Expo has an expansivedisplay of pickup and automotive exhibits. You’ll be able to test drive the new 2014 Chevy Silverado at the Chevy test track. Formerly in-the-field demos, the truck test track has been relocated to C-14 in the exhibit grounds adjacent to the Chevy static exhibit.

Also, be sure to register to win a prize pickup from Chevy, GMC or Ram Trucks that will be given away to some lucky visitor. The Expo will also have a drawing for the main gate prize, so be sure to register in front of the Expo water tower for the chance to win a new lawn tractor from Massey Ferguson.

Among in-the-field demos, John Deere will offer test drives for its Gator line of all terrain vehicles. Titan Tire will offer a brand new test track that will showcase some of the unique tire configurations used by growers in order to overcome field challenges for their applications. You can also test drive Honda ATVs (B-14) and Yamaha ATVs (A-10). 

Among the changes you’ll see on the exhibit grounds, T-L Irrigation will open a new permanent exhibit building (location C-2).

The RFD television network will be one of the new Expo exhibitors (A-10), with a 53-foot bus and entertainer Kevin Sport. Kevin hosts as well as performs on a show called The Right Place.The show is an entertaining and encouraging mix of interviews of and performances by country music artists and gives its television audience an opportunity to see seasoned artists as well as the up-and-coming.

The family living exhibits will return with another strong lineup, including the popular Kitchen Craft cooking demonstrations. Kitchen Craft will have a prize drawing for a free set of cookware on Thursday at 1 p.m.

The Family Living building, located to your left as you enter the main gate, will once again host Backyard Gardening seminars throughout each day of the show. Packer Produce, a firm located at the State Farmer’s Market in Moultrie, will be one of the new exhibitors in the Family Living building. They’ll feature a “Taste of Georgia” and offer a wide variety of edible souvenirs in an exhibit that will be like a mini farmer’s market.

Dairy exhibits

The dairy exhibits (F-7) will feature a mobile dairy classroom, along with a cow-milking contest for state agriculture commissioners from the Southeast. The cow-milking contest will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Seminars of interest to dairy farmers will cover topics such as ultrasound for reproduction management, silage basics and forage-based rations.

Each day of the show, you can see alpaca seminars and demonstrations, along with related exhibits (F-8). Northeast of the exhibits, and near the Expo fish ponds, you can pick up information on pond management and aquaculture throughout each day of the show.

The beef cattle exhibits (E-8), along with cattle management and forage seminars will be sponsored for the second consecutive year by Santa Gertrudis Breeders International. A popular beef producer panel discussion will also return for the second year in a row starting at 1:30 p.m. each day.

Sheep and goat herd health seminars will also be held each day of the show (E-11). Nutrition, forages, marketing and health care for small ruminants are among the seminar topics. You’ll also get to see dairy goat milking demonstrations twice daily.

The poultry exhibits (E-6) will offer seminars covering climate change, alternative litter materials, small layer flocks, poultry health and backyard flocks.

The Southern States cooperative will again sponsor horse demonstrations and seminars in the Priefert Horse Arena (E-11). Some of the events planned for equine enthusiasts include pole bending, calf roping, goat tying, horsemanship, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing. At 12 noon each day, you can catch a presentation from Georgia Special Olympics on how children with special challenges can benefit by working with horses.

The stock dog trials are among the most popular entertainment venues atthe farm show, and will feature continuous sheep trials each day of the show. You’ll find the stock dogs working in a field near the shuttle wagons and across from the Expo’s farm shop.

The Expo features several special exhibit sections where you’ll see displays devoted to forestry and sawmills, antique tractors and equipment, pickups and automotive accessories, lawn and garden equipment, all terrain vehicles and hunting and fishing gear.

The Expo has had a longstanding close relationship with land grant colleges and universities in the Southeast. You’re invited to visit these exhibits from the region’s agricultural colleges to see the latest in agricultural research, education and Extension programs.

For much more on this year’s Expo, visit http://www.sunbeltexpo.com.

 

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