The Making of the World Ag Expo

There is always that time of the year in Tulare County in which we see planes cross above us more than usual and that’s how we know that the World Ag Expo show is in the area. The World Ag Expo is one of the largest outdoor farm shows globally and receives about 105,000 visitors.

The International Agri-Center is celebrating its 55th anniversary and farmers are ready for the next show with a countdown ready. A countdown might seem excessive but the World Ag Expo has been a loved event by the Central Valley for years.

This event was first officially formed in 1978 as a nonprofit corporation to help farmers promote California’s agricultural industry. Its main goal was to have a buyer and sellers connection and these annual events certainly did their job!

The 1968 event was the very first show introduced in Tulare’s Fairgrounds as, called The California Field and Row Crop Equipment Show. It was a three-day show that successfully had 157 exhibitors and 28,000 visitors.

The success of this show left various people signing up for the 1969 show, now called the California Equipment Show. This show focused more on new technology tools to help farmers and was the first show where demonstrations of equipment were performed.

This agricultural show continued to be successful but the 70s was a peak for the Central Valley. Exhibitors would now have to be waitlisted and included international visits. Not only that, but the number of acres that the show was expanded with a new opening of 20 spaces. The show also changed its name to California Farm Equipment Show and International Exposition in 1979.

In the early ‘80s, the shows began to take place at the International Agri-Center with a whopping 80 acres for exhibitions, hitting a new record of exhibitors.

The early 2000s hit a breakthrough, with the help of the completion of the 76,000 sq feet Heritage Complex which hosts the International Business Center.

With this breakthrough came a new name for the show which was changed to what we now know as the World Ag Expo. The World Ag Expo broke the record in 2001 for the number of international attendees with 52 exhibitors from 15 foreign nations.

The World Ag Expo continues to be successful even after the pandemic and our farmers could not be happier. So let’s continue to support our local farmers, and here’s to our next World Ag Expo show.