Sunbelt Expo to celebrate 35th anniversary

Published 6:43 am Thursday, September 27, 2012

Submitted to The Post-Searchlight

Each year, the Sunbelt Ag Expo makes fall a festive time for farmers and their families in the Southeast. This year’s Expo, which will be held Oct. 16-18 in Moultrie, Ga., will celebrate its 35th anniversary.

“For the past 35 years, our farm show has provided farmers and their families with a glimpse of the newest available agricultural technology, all in one central location,” said Expo Director Chip Blalock. “We are proud of our history, and we are truly excited about the new farming technology and the exhibits we are putting together for this year.”

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Blalock says the 2012 show will be a good one.

“Some of the activities we plan include recognizing 23 exhibitors who have been with us for each of our 35 years,” he said. “We commend these companies for their long-term commitment to our farmers and to our farm show, and we invite our visitors to show their appreciation for these companies and organizations.”

The Expo annually welcomes some 1,200 exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors. Visitors will see the exhibits in a 100-acre area that features both indoor, all-weather exhibits along with outdoor exhibits and exhibits in tents.

In the Georgia Agriculture Building, which opened last year, representatives of the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) will offer a full schedule of cooking demonstrations each day. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and GFB President Zippy Duvall will greet visitors during a Coke and peanut social from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17.

“Georgia Farm Bureau is excited to continue our partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to showcase Georgia agriculture,” Duvall said. “If you’re coming to Expo, please stop by the Georgia Agriculture Building and visit with Department of Agriculture and Farm Bureau representatives to learn how we’re serving you and our state’s number one industry. Georgia Farm Bureau is celebrating our 75th anniversary this year, and we’re pleased to continue our yearlong celebration at Expo.”

The Georgia Agriculture building is located near the main gate of the exhibit grounds. If you enter the show grounds through the main gate, the

Georgia Agriculture building will be on your left, directly across from the headquarters building and just before you reach the orange air traffic control tower.

The GDA was one of the original sponsoring organizations of the Expo, and GFB was an original exhibitor at the first Sunbelt Expo held in 1978.

In recognition of the 35th anniversary, the Expo will have a special exhibit in the farm show’s headquarters building. This exhibit will feature a collection of commemorative souvenir cola bottles from each of the 35 years of the show, along with a collection of official Expo programs published over the years.

Expo maintains a full schedule of seminars and presentations in the exhibit area that will educate, inform and entertain visitors. Presentations will cover a variety of topics relating to animal agriculture. Some of these include alpaca management, commercial fish farming and pond management, cow milking demonstrations and dairy farming presentations, goat and sheep herd health seminars, and seminars on poultry production.

Expo is unique among farm shows because it has its own 600-acre research farm where farmers can get a close-up view of the latest equipment working in the fields. The crops on the Expo farm include those most widely grown in the Southeast, including cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and hay. Visitors will also be able to see a new crop, sesame, along with alfalfa and perennial peanuts and organic crop plots.

Shaded shuttle wagons will transport visitors around the Expo farm to see the crops and the field demonstrations. Visitors can get off the shuttle wagons to get a close-up view of the crops and the equipment, and then embark on another shuttle wagon for a return trip to the exhibit area.

The Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year will be named during the Willie B. Withers Luncheon on the opening day of the show. Barry Martin of Pulaski County is representing Georgia and competing against farmers from nine other states for the award.

The Expo is located southeast of Moultrie on State Route 133. The gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day of the show. The show closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17, and at 4 p.m. on Oct. 18. Parking is free of charge. Admission is $10 per person or $20 for a three-day admission ticket. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

For additional information, visit the Expo Web site at, contact the Expo by e-mail at, or call (229) 985-1968.