The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
For most of this week I have been in Tulare, California attending the World Ag Expo. It is touted as the biggest farm trade show in the world and it is easy to see why. Thousands of companies set up exhibits showing off a dizzying array of agriculture equipment, services and supplies. Approximately 100,000 people attend the 3-day show so it is one of the larger industry expositions (by attendance) in the country. We saw quite a few people from Yakima County at the show which testifies to the event's importance for our local agribusinesses.
We went to the show with the Ports of Grandview and Sunnyside. Our organization shared costs of doing some market research on exhibitors that helped us establish eight appointments with companies interested in expanding into Yakima County. The calls on these companies went well and we planted seeds with them about our area's growth opportunities. Most of the companies need to develop stronger markets in the Northwest but they all saw opportunities as a result of our large and diverse agricultural economy. We also identified several other companies who wanted to chat with us - mainly firms that also have longer term interest in Northwest markets and opportunities.
It was illuminating to see the exhibits and talk with people at the show. Agriculture is doing particularly well on the West Coast, but a lot of the exhibitors are growing as a result of international sales. It points out that we are still the undisputed world leader in farming and agriculture technology. With a competitive edge on many levels, our farmers, agricultural equipment makers and suppliers are truly world class. As a result it is easy to see why the Tulare show is touted as the best farm trade show in the world.
We will be following up with the companies we met at the show and remembering the things we saw and learned at this great event. It was a productive trip and we are proud to be part of one of the most important agricultural production areas in the nation (and world).