The 44th annual World Ag Expo, Tools for Agri-Business, will feature the Top-10 New Products for 2011, a new Concert Series, a vast array of educational seminars and a new Beef and Livestock Pavilion.

These are just a few highlights of the world’s largest annual farm equipment show, Feb 8-10, expected to draw nearly 1,500 exhibitors and 100,000 attendees from around the globe.

World Ag Expo is held each February on the 2.6 million-square-foot show grounds of the International Agri-Center, located off Highway 99 midway between Fresno and Bakersfield. Exhibitors display the newest and best products, technology and services for 350 agriculture commodities over the three-day expo.

Admission tickets and information are available online at worldagexpo.com.

Leading World Ag Expo is Chairman Lee Coito, whose team of over 1,500 Orange Jacketed-volunteers provides everything from leadership and policy-making, to forklift service for exhibitors and directions for attendees.

“For just three days in February, World Ag Expo brings together the world of agriculture,” Coito noted. “This expo is where farmers, dairymen and ranchers see great innovations for the first time. Much of this new technology is then adopted as part of their operations. It’s all thanks to World Ag Expo volunteers.”

New for 2011 is a first-ever concert series, kicking off with CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton. The concert is a fundraiser for a new initiative of the International Agri-Center to support and promote California agriculture.

Shelton will perform on opening day, Tuesday, Feb. 8, inside the new Entertainment Pavilion on the show grounds at World Ag Expo. Tickets are $40, $60 and $80 each and are on sale at worldagexpo.com. Opening for Shelton will be Warner Brothers recording artist Jason Jones.

The second night of the series is a fund-raiser for the new College of the Sequoias agriculture program and will feature Grammy nominee David Nail with opening act Stealing Angels. Tickets are available online for $75, $40 and $20.

World Ag Expo attendees will get to experience agricultural equipment first-hand in the Ride and Drive test area where Toyota, American Honda, Dodge, John Deere, Topcon and Gehl allow attendees to test drive the newest products in real, on-the-farm conditions. A vast array of dairy products, technology and services will be on display in the 70,000-square-foot Farm Credit Dairy Center. Pavilions A and B will feature general agriculture and irrigation exhibits, while Pavilion C features agri-chemicals, fertilizer and spray equipment exhibitors. New for 2011, Pavilion D will feature a beef and livestock emphasis, with a beef and livestock demonstration area where exhibitors can showcase new technology.

A daily seminar schedule, detailed on the web site at worldagexpo.com, includes presentations on topics such as beef production, forage, dairy, export, labor, irrigation, safety, advocacy and water. All seminars are free with paid admission.

Other highlights of the 2011 World Ag Expo include:

• The Top-10 New Products Pavilion will house the 2011 winning entries and 10 honorable mention products. Attendees can help select the Attendees Choice award winner from the Top-10 by voting online and at the New Products Pavilion.

• Download the new for 2011 World Ag Expo iPhone or Android app, powered by MC Solutions, or bookmark the mobile show grounds, for smart phone and web-enabled devices. These two new features will help attendees reach exhibitors before, during and after the expo. Visit worldagexpo.com from a smart phone for details.

• A new partnership with the Fresno Convention & Visitors Bureau means special rates and discounts from member hotels, restaurants, entertainment outlets, airlines and ground transportation providers for those staying in Fresno the evenings of the expo. Park and Ride shuttle service to and from the expo has been added from Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno and Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis. Round trip tours cost $25 per day, or $60 for a three-day pass. Passes may be purchased at worldagexpo.com.

• Admission tickets may be purchased online at worldagexpo.com and attendees are automatically entered to win prizes including one of three Honda Big Red 4X4 MUVs.

• Regional FFA programs will again benefit from a fundraiser with support from Toyota. FFA members are selling tickets and one winner will drive off a new Toyota 4X2 Tundra Grade Crew Max.

• The Forage Challenge, presented by Mycogen Seeds, will recognize the top forage entries, all vying for prize money. The forage display is located in the New Products Pavilion in the southeast corner of the grounds.

• The E.M. Tharp “We Believe in Growing” scholarship will be presented to two high school seniors again this year. Applications are due Jan. 14, 2011.

Free parking is available on the show grounds, and a free shuttle service is available from several locations in Visalia and Tulare to help attendees avoid congestion on surrounding roads.

The International Business Center helps connect buyers and sellers through trade lead exchanges, and offers informative export seminars.

And, not to be overlooked is the wide array of food booths, all operated by local non-profit organizations, located on the show grounds.

“World Ag Expo is truly an experience, and there is something new and different to see each year,” Coito added. “It is a blend of impressive big pickers and tractors, the latest in technology, a chance to see old friends and great food that supports great causes. We’re proud to support the world’s most important industry. ”