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Delta Ag Expo helps farmers adapt to changes
CLEVELAND -- The Delta's agricultural industry has made many changes in three decades, but growers have been able to depend on the annual Delta Ag Expo to help them adapt.
The 30th Annual Delta Ag Expo will take place Jan. 21 and 22 at the Bolivar County Exposition Center in Cleveland. Opening day activities will feature an 11:30 a.m. keynote address by Mississippi native and U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Hawks.
The goal of providing farmers with a one-stop shopping and educational experience has not changed, but the size of the event has, said James Smith, who helped organize the first Expo while serving as the Mississippi State University Extension Service rice specialist in 1974.
"We set that arena up for 100 to 115 exhibits, and we had a waiting list of people wanting to exhibit the first year," said Smith, who now owns Delta Rice Services. "Back then, we were at the transition from mechanical weed control, or cold-steel farming, to chemical weed control. People were anxious for information on the new chemicals and technologies."
Since then, thousands of Delta and mid-South farmers have kicked off the new planting year with a visit to the Delta Ag Expo, where they find the latest information on seed, chemicals, equipment and information needed to stay profitable. This year growers again will have the opportunity to see agricultural exhibits and talk with Extension and research personnel to get up-to-date information for planning the 2003 crop.
The event, co-sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and the Delta Ag Expo Corp., offers ag-related seminars and more than 125 commercial and educational exhibits. A special session will offer information on the imposing threat of Chronic Wasting Disease on the mid-South's white-tailed deer population.
As part of the event's 30th anniversary celebration, the first 100 people to register who were farming or involved in the agriculture industry in 1974 will receive a special gift. They also will be entered for a chance to win a grand prize at the conclusion of the two-day event.
The Expo opens daily at 8:30 a.m. and admission is free. For more information, contact Don Respess or Kay Garrard at (662) 843-8361 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.