MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) - The countdown is on to the start of one of the biggest events in south Georgia. On Tuesday, the gates will officially open for the 40th year of the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie.
Preparing Spence Field to welcome 80,000 visitors isn't a task that happens overnight. Crews have been working around the clock to prepare for the three-day event.
Executive Director Chip Blalock said exhibitors started moving into Spence Field about four weeks ago. He said planning each year's show is a year-round job.
Blalock said the show has something for everyone.
"It's just a great time for the folks to come out and either learn more about the farm, or for the consumer to come and learn where the food, fiber, and shelter comes from and it just doesn't magically appear in the store," said Blalock.
A key centerpiece of the ag expo is the 600-acre research farm. Organizers say the farm sets the Sunbelt Ag Expo apart from other agricultural trade shows.
Cody Mitchell, farm manager for the expo, said they begin planting a majority of the crops in May.
The days leading up to the expo can be some of the busiest. On Friday, Mitchell and his team spent hours digging up the peanuts to dry out and be ready for harvesting during the show. Along with peanuts, they'll also be picking cotton and soybeans.
Mitchell said this allows visitors the chance to see the brand new technologies as they harvest the crops.
He said they put in around 50 to 70 hours a week to prepare for the show. It's hard work, but something he loves to do.
"I love being on a farm," said Mitchell. "Ag is what I love. I grew up on a farm. I've been around it a little bit my whole life. And I've been extremely involved in it my whole life, and I've been extremely involved in it the last two to three years, and I've grown a passion for it."
The expo kicks off tomorrow. Gates open at 8:30 every morning and close at 5:00 on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at 4:00 on Thursday.
Tickets are $10 per person, per day.
For more information, visit the Sunbelt Ag Expo website.
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