World Ag Expo draws thousands to dairy-rich Tulare County

TULARE, Calif. -- The annual World Ag Expo held in Tulare opened its gates to thousands of visitors Tuesday and organizers expect the three-day event to draw about 100,000 visitors, pumping millions of dollars into the Central Valley county's economy.

Billed as the largest agricultural exposition of its kind in the world, the event is part county fair and part trade show. The massive event draws farmers and others interested in the latest cost-saving technologies or new agricultural practices. 

Vendors brought massive tractors, work trucks, tomato harvesters and all sorts of gadgets to the sprawling 2.6 million square feet of exhibiting space. 

"Not only do buyers and sellers come together at World Ag Expo to do business, but agricultural producers also attend the show to expand their knowledge of agricultural issues, production methods and international trade," said Jerry Sinift, the International Agri-Center's chief executive officer.  

One thing, however, was clear at the expo: Dairy is king.

The Farm Credit Dairy Center was chock full of vendors hawking udder cream, plastic-coated calf stalls and livestock feed.

The focus on dairy is largely because Tulare County produces more milk than any other county in the U.S. It accounts for more than a quarter of the milk produced in California, according to data from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Visitors were able to tour local dairies, including Elkhorn Dairy just north of Tulare in Visalia. The 3,200-cow operation is partly powered by solar energy and features a carousel-designed milking parlor.

The farm show runs through Thursday.


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