Will weather cooperate with Expo kick-off? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will weather cooperate with Expo kick-off?

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October 17, 2006

Moultrie-- One of the country's premier farm shows is rolling back into south Georgia and bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors with it. But WALB meteorologists are calling for a 70% chance of rain today in South Georgia.

There has been rain at Expo before, but it's a decided rarity. But rain or shine, vendors from all over the world will showcase the latest farm equipment and emerging technologies.

The expo will feature more than 1,200 vendors from as far away as South Korea. With their latest gadgets on display, the expo will give a big boost to Georgia's vital agricultural economy and fuel south Georgia's tourism.

The engines are revved up, and so are the vendors. "It's really exciting to be here, to see all the other manufacturers, and all the new products out this year," says Rob Parrish.

"We look forward to it every year," says Brian Mathis.

Welcome to a farmer's version of paradise. Here you'll find some pretty fancy equipment.

"We're known for our versatility and for our quality," says Rob Parrish. Kioti tractors are Rob Parrish's speciality. Today he puts the final touches on his exhibit.

"With the transportation of machines, getting them here, getting them cleaned up, getting them set up is well worth the effort," says Mathis.

"Being only 30 miles from my home town, I'll see a lot of familiar faces," says Brian Mathis. He works for Teejet Technologies in Tifton. Here he sets up a display with his companies latest gadgets.

"Which has taken several hours," he adds.

A new GPS control system will help increase a farmer's productivity. "That's money out of their pocket they don't have to spend," he says.

But more than farmers benefit from the giant expo.  From tractors to the latest designs in technology, nearly 300,000 visitors are expected to tour the expo. And with that many people in town that will mean a gigantic boost to the economy.

"The University of Georgia did an economic study on our show last year and showed we had a $16 million economic impact just on the show itself," says Expo Director Chip Blalock.  He says that's not all the expo will offer non-farmers.

"It's also a great time for consumers to see what farmers are doing to continue to produces the most safest, abundant, most economical supply of food fiber in the world," says Blalock.

With just hours away until the expo, vendors look forward to showing off their latest gadgets at one the most popular farm shows in the country. "It is one of the largest, and certainly the largest in the southeast and an extremely important show," says Parrish.

A cow milking contest, and several drawings for a lawn mower and even a pickup truck are on tap for the first day of the event. The expo officially runs through Thursday.

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