By Brad Haire
University of Georgia
The Sunbelt Expo draws more than 200,000 people annually to see 1,200 exhibitors showcase the latest in farm equipment, services and information.
Visitors to the CAES permanent Sunbelt Expo building learned how chicken fat, row crops, wood chips and even algae could fuel the United States in the future. They also learned about the economic benefits and costs of biofuel production in Georgia.
"The Sunbelt Expo is our single greatest opportunity each year to highlight to the farming community the great work going on at CAES," said J. Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. "Each year we select a theme that seems to be on the mind of the farming community. Clearly, energy and biofuels were a great topic for the current year."
CAES crop specialists explained to participants the research on peanuts, cotton and other row crops they conducted on the Expo's 600-acre farm, where harvest was taking place as shuttles loaded with people passed down field roads. CAES animal specialist conducted seminars for those interested in livestock.
"As more and more agricultural universities participate," Angle said, "the Sunbelt Expo is also becoming one of the leading educational venues for U.S. agriculture."
Every year, 10 Southeastern states each send a farmer to compete for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. It went to North Carolina farmer Bill Cameron this year. Georgia’s nominee was Daniel Johnson from Alma, Ga.
(Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)