The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition is a must-see event for farmers, would-be farmers and anyone interested in rural lifestyles. The best technology the agricultural industry has to offer will be on display near Moultrie, Ga., during the Oct. 17-19 farm show. Extraordinary exhibits hit the mark year after year with farm customers during North America’s Premier Farm Show. It’s the biggest and best annual farm show held on this continent.

Each October, the Expo welcomes 1,200 or more exhibitors, each with products and services aimed at meeting the needs of the 200,000-plus farmers, rural homeowners and their family members who attend each year.

For farmers needing equipment or those wanting to see new agricultural technology put to use in a real farm setting, the Sunbelt Expo is the place to be.

In the feast or famine business of farming, the Expo is a constant. During days of high fuel prices, a trip to Expo is crucial. That’s because Expo offers a central location where anything and everything needed on the farm can be found within an easy walk. A farmer would need to visit a hundred or more equipment dealers to see all that is available during the three-day farm show in south Georgia. Expo is the most efficient means of finding it all in one place and at one time.

The facilities include 100 acres of exhibit space along with a 600-acre working farm where you’ll find major crops such as cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, turfgrass and hay.

The working experimental farm at Expo has contributed greatly to the advancement of agriculture in the Southeast. For instance, four-row cotton pickers were first introduced at Expo, as were four-row and self-propelled peanut combines. The Expo farm was selected as the site to test and perfect cotton irrigation scheduling now widely used on farms. The Expo farm pioneered in the growing of new peanut varieties bred for resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus.

In recent years, Expo has introduced farmers to new technology in precision farming, auto-steering tractors and the variable rate application of crop inputs. If you’re betting the farm on new technology, Expo is the place to find out whether the new idea will work or not.

“We have had a great farm show since our first one in 1978,” says Expo director Chip Blalock, “but this year’s show will be our best one yet — with new exhibitors, new technology and our outstanding field demonstrations. Farmers have learned they can count on Expo to see new technology before it becomes widely available. Come see for yourself because I can assure you our exhibitors will meet or exceed your expectations.”

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 with global positioning systems and other precision farming technology.

Animal agriculture is also prominently featured. Poultry exhibits and seminars are among the new features this year. The poultry emphasis is timely given the recent strong growth of broiler production in south Georgia.

In addition, other favorite animal agriculture displays will return. These include beef cattle exhibits along with beef management seminars.

Dairy exhibits will return along with special seminars on foot and hoof care of dairy cattle.

Don’t miss the horse demonstrations in the equine arena or the many equine exhibits in the adjacent pavilion. Also, you’ll be able to take in exhibits and seminars for small farm animals such as goats and alpacas.

The Sunbelt Expo helps to sponsor the most prestigious farming awards programs held in the U.S. The Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program recognizes nine outstanding farmers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. One of these farmers will be announced as the overall Farmer of the Year winner at a luncheon to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The Expo extends a special invitation to visitors from Tennessee. The diverse agriculture in the Volunteer State will be highlighted 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 pens in a large grassed field.

Antique tractors will be on display in the western section of the exhibit grounds and will parade through the exhibits each afternoon of the show. Hunting and fishing exhibits and demonstrations will also return.

Other special exhibit sections emphasize pickups and automotive, small farms, all terrain vehicles, lawn and garden, electricity, propane gas, forestry and sawmills.

Family living exhibits will offer cooking demonstrations along with a wide variety of arts and crafts, information on health, safety, home furnishings and cookbooks.

The three-day farm show starts on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and runs through Thursday, Oct. 19. The gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day, and close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Admission price is $6 per person. Children under 6 are admitted free when accompanied by a parent. Parking and shuttle rides to the fields are free of charge.

Visitors will find dozens of food and beverage vendors located throughout the exhibit area.

The Sunbelt Expo’s permanent home is located on 1,680 acres, four miles southeast of U.S. Hwy 319 on Ga. Hwy. 133 near Moultrie, Ga. Private and charter airplanes can land on an FAA-controlled 4,500-foot hard surface runway adjacent to the exhibit grounds. Facilities for camping and overnight parking are also available on the site.

For additional information, contact the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, 290-G Harper Blvd., Moultrie, GA 31788. Phone: 229-985-1968, fax: 229-890-8518, E-mail: info@sunbeltexpo.com, Web site: www.sunbeltexpo.com.