Expo welcomes a steady crowd on Tuesday - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Expo welcomes a steady crowd on Tuesday

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The 2009 Sunbelt Ag Expo is underway and tens of thousands of people will pass through the gates this week.  

The gates opened at 8:30 AM Tuesday, and with sunny weather the crowd grew throughout the day. The three day event will have a $16 million impact on a 20-county area.  

This year's spotlight state is North Carolina. Guests to the expo didn't take long to begin checking out some of the 1,200 exhibits on display. There are seminars on new technology and solutions to the economic trouble many farmers are facing. Many are looking for solutions to high fertilizer prices.

During lunch, ten farmers competed for the title of Southeast Farmer of the year. This year the honor went to cattle farmer Cary Lightsey of Lake Wales Florida who said preserving his family's farm for future generation is the true reward. 

 "To be recognized for something we love already" said Lightsey. "I mean this is something I wanted to preserve our land, our heritage for the next generation. May dad had an old saying, You can't take you money with you when you go, you can't take you land, but you can take the respect."  

 Georgia's Farmer of the Year this year was from Tifton. Bill Brim has been an active farmer for 25 years farming 4,000 acres of various vegetable crops.  

The Sunbelt Ag Expo continues Wednesday and Thursday and will feature everything from new developments in green energy to Stock Dog Trials.

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