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October 15, 2002

Moultrie--  The Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie is 25 years strong. Tuesday kicked off the first of three days.

Rain hampered attendance a bit on opening day, but there were still large crowds on hand. Thousands of exhibits are on display at the Sunbelt Expo.

People came from all over the world to Moultrie for the three-day event. Even with rainy, chilly weather, visitors trouped through Spence Field to see the latest agricultural innovations and technology.

The Ag-GPS Autopilot was a big hit with patrons. The device steers the tractor through the field with a satellite receiver. This type of computerized farming is expected to allow the tractor to return to the same row, and increase productivity. "There's a satellite receiver in the tractor, and one on a base station and a radio link between the two," said Rich Hilliker of Trimble Navigation.

The autopilot is just one of hundreds of demonstrations at Sunbelt . There are cooking demonstrations; wildlife hunting, and Wednesday, more than 2,000 young farmers are expected to compete in a pork cook off.

The Southeastern Farmer of the Year is from right here in South Georgia. Armond Morris of Ocilla took home the Southeastern Farmer of the Year title and a check for more than $12,000.

Morris competed against seven other farmers from surrounding states. Morris is the second Georgian to win this honor. James Lee Adams of Camilla won in 2000.

Meanwhile, Georgia farmers are getting help from the government. Representative Saxby Chambliss announced that 147 counties in Georgia were designated drought disaster areas. Farmers in those counties will be eligible for livestock compensation and low interest loans.

The first payment was presented to livestock farmers Wayne and Kay West. The USDA also presented a check to Colquitt County peanut farmer Bart Davis as part of the peanut quota buyout program.

Georgia was approved to receive $534 million under that program.


posted at 5:27PM by dave.miller@walb.com