An increase in attendance at Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition could be due to area farmers’ harvest being delayed due to summer weather, show Executive Director Chip Blalock said in summing up 2013.
Initial counts put the number of visitors for Tuesday through Thursday at 90,000, up from last year, he said. Foreign visitors included those from Argentina, Brazil and Pakistan.
“International visitors did seem to be up,” Blalock said.
Expo recorded its largest number of exhibitors at 1,219 this year.
“We had a great week,” Blalock said. “The farmers may not be in the fields yet, so they didn’t have to worry about abandoning their fields.”
Extensive rainfall during the early- and mid-summer delayed the maturity of cotton and peanuts. Southwest Georgia farmers are usually in the thick of gathering those crops during Expo week, so they don’t always get the chance to check out the show.
That technology on display in the 600-acre crop area is one of the show’s main draws.
“Who knows what the future holds?” Blalock said. He predicted that among the cutting-edge gadgetry on the way is equipment to “assimilate all the information from weather stations, moisture meters, soil probes and put it all together to help farmers make real-time decisions.”
“The good Lord blessed us with sunshine, breezy weather all week,” Blalock said. “There was all the technology for farmers to check out and take back to their operations.”