THE 2009 PRAYER BREAKFAST at World Ag Expo, Wednesday, Feb. 11, will feature a variety of speakers emphasizing the importance of faith and family within the context of the agricultural community.

“The theme for this year’s breakfast is, ‘Our Father, Families and Farms,’ with the idea that in these volatile and uncertain times it is important we keep our priorities in line with God,” says Prayer Breakfast Committee Chair Mark Brady.

The keynote speaker will be Rich Matteis, administrator for the California Farm Bureau Federation and former executive vice president of the California Grain and Feed Association. Matteis has more than 30 years experience advocating for California farmers.

Scot Hillman, a former president of the California Grain and Feed Association and current member of the Prayer Breakfast Committee, has known Matteis for many years and calls him “a dynamic speaker who combines deep faith with a strong understanding of state and national politics and farming issues.

“It’s exciting to have a speaker like Rich, who has lived a life like many of those in the audience,” Hillman says. “It will be an ag talk with a lot of personal anecdotal material.”

Ted Bloemhof and family, long-time tree fruit farmers in the Shafter/Wasco area, will also be on the program representing California’s farming families. Music will be performed by Julie Blaswich and the Visalia Rescue Mission Choir.

As the popularity of the World Ag Expo’s annual Prayer Breakfast continues to grow, the morning event will again offer two seating times to accommodate the growing number of people looking to kick off their World Ag Expo day with an inspirational breakfast. Both breakfast seatings will be in the Heritage Complex Banguet Hall. The first breakfast will begin at 7:00 a.m. and the second at 9:00 a.m.

“Two years ago, we simply outgrew our ability to serve the number of people interested in attending the breakfast, so we started offering early seating for those who work at the show and a second seating for those attending the show,” Hillman says.

Tickets are available for $15, or $150 for a table. A $500 sponsorship includes two tables and recognition in the breakfast program. For tickets or information, visit the new World Ag Expo Web site, www.worldagexpo.com, or contact Gina Jarrell of J.D. Heiskell and Co. at (559) 685-6100; Tulare Sales Yard at (559) 688-7569; Tulare County Stockyard in Dinuba at (559) 0884; or the World Ag Expo at (559) 688-1751.