The Sunbelt Ag Expo is called North America’s Premier Farm Show®, drawing more than 80,000 visitors and 1,200 exhibitors to Moultrie each year. The expo features exhibits and educational sessions relevant to any rural audience, from the largest commercial farms to the beginning backyard gardener.
“We truly offer something for everyone,” Executive Director Chip Blalock says.
Gina McDonald, director of marketing and public relations for the expo, has been a part of the show for 19 years.
“I’m proud of what we have to offer to farmers, ranchers, hobbyists and the general public,” she says. “There is a reason people come all three days, because we have so much to see.”
McDonald adds, “Our visitors tell us what an asset this show is to growing their resources and connections within their industry, in addition to the on-hands learning that they take away – not to mention it’s a who’s who in the industry as you never know who you might bump into.”
The show’s roots date to 1964, when the Ag Engineering Technology Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College invited local machinery dealers to display equipment on campus. Today’s trade show and educational sessions are held at Spence Field, with 100 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibit space.
Show visitors ride a tram from Spence Field to the expo’s nearby 600-acre research farm.
“The Darrell Williams Research The Sunbelt Ag Expo takes place in Moultrie in October.
Farm is what sets our show apart from the rest,” Blalock says. “We have harvesting demonstrations there for corn and soybeans, as well as cotton, peanuts and hay.”
Haying demonstrations are very popular, as round balers from 10 different companies move side by side through the same field. “After the demonstration is done, farmers can come in and look at the hay bales, inspect the equipment,” Blalock says.
Many Georgia farmers take time during harvest for a visit to the show.
“Some are just window shopping. But most farmers are continuing relationships with manufacturers, talking with companies about their products and how they’re performing on the farm and in the field,” Blalock says.
Education is central at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, which offers more than 300 educational seminars and demonstrations.
Seminars for farmers cover the gamut of Georgia crop and livestock enterprises: beef and dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, goats and alpacas.
The expo’s two fish ponds are also popular, covering both commercial aquaculture and small-pond management, with fishing demonstrations for everyone. Other expo destinations target the rural lifestyle, such as the Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center, which is focused on backyard gardening. There’s also the American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trial, a competition for border collies and their handlers from across the Southeast. Test ranges for small tractors, utility vehicles and pickup trucks appeal to almost everyone, commercial farmers to rural weekend warriors.
“As they say in the business, we cut a wide swath,” Blalock says.