October 12, 2017
"North America’s Premier Farm Show,” the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, opens Tuesday, October 17, 2017 in Moultrie, GA unveiling over 4,000 product lines from 1,211 exhibitors, another sell-out of space for the 3-day Expo. Officials report over 100 new exhibitors as companies showcase the latest in farming technology, research and equipment.
"We offer something for everyone involved in, or interested in agriculture," states Chip Blalock, Executive Director of the Show. "We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary. In 1978 we had 410 exhibitors on 25 acres. Today, we will host 1,200 exhibitors, encompassing 100 acres of exhibit space and a 600 acre research farm. Twenty-three of our exhibitors have participated in all 40 shows and we thank them for supporting the Expo and its mission to provide the latest and greatest ag technology and educational information to the American farmer.”
Blalock said, "You need to take time to join the fun and fellowship and leave with a renewed sense of community and confidence in our future as the agricultural leader of the world."
Tennessee is the 2017 Spotlight State promoting the theme, "The Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee.” The exhibit will showcase Tennessee’s cultural diversity, agricultural history and the sounds of Tennessee such as the Blues and the King of Rock N Roll in Memphis to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Get a taste of the iconic MoonPie, made in Tennessee and turning 100 this year.
On Tuesday, the Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year will be announced, selected from the 10 Southeastern farming states. The show will welcome 10 new families to the Farmer of the Year Family. Blalock said, "We plan to give them the recognition they so richly deserve in today's agricultural world."
Highlights of the Tuesday events include a Press Conference for Georgia Grown and Sewn Cotton Press Conference at 9:05 a.m. A Ribbon Cutting at the new R.W. Griffin stage highlighting the Grand Opening of the 40th Anniversary Sunbelt Expo Show at 9:30 a.m. And there will be the Southeastern Hay Contest Award Recognition at 9:40 a.m. At 10:05 a.m., see the unveiling of the New Georgia Equine Tag. The Ribbon Cutting for the Tennessee Spotlight State Exhibit will be at 10:30 a.m. At 2:30 p.m., see the Cow Milking Contest between the Deans of Agriculture from Fort Valley State University, Auburn, Florida and Georgia. A Farm Bill Listening Session will be hosted by Rep. Austin Scott and Rep. Ric Allen at 3 p.m. at the R. W. Griffin Stage.
New this year is John Deere’s newest JD Gator models and Kelley Manufacturing Company and Harrell Equipment will be demonstrating new cotton stalk pullers. Brown Manufacturing has a new Hydraulic Brush Cutter and Fecon will introduce the new FMX Excavator Pull Hog Mulching attachment. One popular group returning is the Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center with emphasis on everything backyard, from growing fruits, vegetables and flowers and even the bees that increase production. New in the Georgia Metals Exhibitor’s Pavilion will be the Georgia Citrus Association offering citrus trees and Satsuma jelly and syrup.
In the Family Living Building, Expo goers can take a break and watch the South’s leading chefs do daily cooking demonstrations at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Chef’s include Georgia’s own Lauri Jo and Chip Reed of Zac Brown’s Southern Ground. Chef Holly Chute of the Georgia Department of Agriculture will tout the Georgia Grown campaign and Chef Ivy Odom of Moultrie now cooking up ideas at the Time, Inc Food Studio in Birmingham.
See and test drive compact and utility tractors at the driving range near the field demos. Test drive a Massey, John Deere, Kubota and Yanmar, ranging from 30-40 hp to 40-80 hp.
A farmer favorite is the field demonstrations. Blalock says the research farm team has worked hard to have the 600 acres of crops ready to harvest at show time. Farmers like to witness harvesting demonstrations with machines side by side harvesting cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and hay. The Expo runs a continuous tram system to and from field demonstration all three days of the show. Be sure to see the 8 to 10 different brands of hay cutters running side by side, plus tedders, balers and rakes.
Another Expo favorite is the American Grand Finals stock dog competition and horse riding demonstrations. Renowned horse trainer Cal Middleton of Kansas City, Kansas will provide a clinic on how horse owners can get top performance from their animals. At the Livestock Pavilion, see beef presentations, poultry exhibits, sheep and goat exhibits and stop by the aqua culture exhibit to taste farm-raised catfish, cooked by Master Catfish Chef Chris Wilton.
New this year is a Circle Tram. Trams drive around the outside of the 100 acre exhibit area stopping to load and unload. The service saves some walking time and allows more time to visit exhibits.
Marketing Director Gina McDonald says, “The best way to plan your trip to the Sunbelt is to download the Sunbelt Ag Expo 2017 App. Lots of questions can be answered by studying the mobile App." McDonald says a great feature to use on the website is the online ticketing, allowing guests to order, pay, and print tickets ahead of time.
Show hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is $10 per person per day. Children under 10 are admitted free with a parent. A multi-day admission ticket is $20. Credit cards and personal checks will not be accepted at the ticket booths during show days.
The Expo offers sites for camping and for parking recreational vehicles. For information on camping facilities, contact the City of Moultrie by phone at 229-890-5425. Check the Expo website at www.sunbeltexpo.com, like them on Facebook and Twitter, contact the Expo by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 229-985-1968.
The Sunbelt Expo is located four miles southeast of U.S. Highway 319 on Georgia Highway 133 near Moultrie, GA. A 4,500-foot runway is available for private and charter airplanes.