$1 million in naming rights fees help expand and improve the 76,000-square-foot facility
Last year, over 98,000 people from 49 states and 34 countries attended the World Ag Expo® in Tulare, one of the largest annual outdoor agricultural expositions in the world. This year, as COVID-19 pandemic concerns continue to ease, over 100,000 attendees are expected at the 56th annual event, which will run from February 14-16.
Attendees will get a good glimpse of the future of agriculture as more than 1,200 exhibitors will display the latest products and services for farmers and ranchers. As well over 100 of those exhibitors focus on the dairy industry, it’s a good bet that many of this year’s attendees will visit the Farm Credit Dairy Center.
The 76,000-square-foot complex is the heart of the International Agri-Center®, said World Ag Expo® Marketing Manager Jennifer Fawkes.
“Having Farm Credit involved is so important. The Farm Credit Dairy Center is a place to get people together to get ag business done,” she said. “It continues to be a landmark of the show and is packed with dairy and livestock exhibitors. And this year, large equipment displays are being added inside the facility as well.”
Mark Littlefield, President and CEO of AgWest Farm Credit, said Farm Credit has invested in the facility for so many years because of the importance of World Ag Expo® to agriculture in California and indeed farmers around the world.
“Each year, people come to Tulare from around the world to learn about the latest innovations in agriculture,” Littlefield said. “Besides all the new equipment being displayed, there are more than 90 informative seminars offered, along with agriculture tours in which attendees can see first-hand the technology and state-of-the-art facilities being used by the ag industry here in California.”
Other Farm Credit organizations supporting the Dairy Center and World Ag Expo® are American AgCredit, CoBank, FCS America, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit. The organizations are part of the nationwide Farm Credit System – the largest provider of credit to U.S. agriculture.
Farm Credit has held the naming rights to the complex since 2008, and its annual contributions – totaling over $1 million – have allowed the Agri-Center to expand and improve the facility, such as installing a concrete floor and solid walls, along with indoor plumbing and other upgrades.
But as Fawkes noted, the Ag Expo takes place just three days a year.
“During the other nine to 10 months (before work begins to prep the complex for the Ag Expo), we can hold many other events there,” she said. “It’s home base for equestrian and livestock the rest of the year. In 2022 we hosted the Western Dairy Classic, the Junior Dairy Show, the California Swine Show and the California Youth Ag Expo.”
Recently, a 160-stall pavilion has been added to the east of the facility and a wash rack installed to the southeast. There are also plans for additional restrooms and additional events.
The Dairy Center has also hosted trainings by major manufacturers during the year as well as volleyball tournaments, seminars for ag conferences, dinners during the California Antique Farm Equipment Show®, and more. The Agri-Center is also looking to expand into rodeo events, Fawkes said.
Keith Hesterberg, President and CEO of Fresno Madera Farm Credit, said the system’s sponsorships have helped the International Agri-Center® become more of a year-round resource for farming.
“By helping fund the improvements for the Farm Credit Dairy Center during the past decade, we have helped the International Agri-Center expand its operations and become a more invaluable asset to the agriculture community,” Hesterberg said. “We look forward to many more years of support.”
The current five-year sponsorship agreement runs through May 2027.
About Farm Credit:
AgWest Farm Credit, American AgCredit, CoBank, FCS America, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit are cooperatively owned lending institutions providing agriculture and rural communities with a dependable source of credit. For more than 100 years, the Farm Credit System has specialized in financing farmers, ranchers, farmer-owned cooperatives, rural utilities and agribusinesses. Farm Credit offers a broad range of loan products and financial services, including long-term real estate loans, operating lines of credit, equipment and facility loans, cash management and appraisal and leasing services…everything a “growing” business needs. For more information, visit www.farmcreditalliance.com
About World Ag Expo®:
The International Agri-Center® is home to World Ag Expo®, February 14-16, 2023, in Tulare, California. An estimated annual average of 100,000 individuals from 60 countries attend World Ag Expo® each year. The largest annual agricultural show of its kind, World Ag Expo® hosts more than 1,200 exhibitors displaying cutting-edge agricultural technology, equipment, and services on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. Learn more at www.worldagexpo.org