INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES are convinced that World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. is one of the best worldwide stages to market their agribusiness solutions.

About 50 companies from 13 countries, including 35 from Canada, will exhibit products and services at the 42nd edition of the world’s largest annual agricultural exhibition Feb. 10-12.

“World Ag Expo is one of the best agriculture shows, both from an exhibitor and attendee perspective,” says Amanda Fairweather, Sentek Sensor Technologies, Stepney, South Australia. This is Sentek’s second year to exhibit at WAE, showcasing the company’s soil moisture and salinity monitoring sensors for irrigated agriculture.

“Our main goals are to obtain sales leads, form strategic alliances, expand our U.S. market share, obtain media contacts, and support our U.S. distributors,” Fairweather says.

The introduction of the WAE Irrigation Pavilion brings even more value for the industry in this time of uncertain water supplies in so many areas of the world.

The value of the U.S. dollar is always a topic of discussion for foreign buyers and visitors at the Expo. Fairweather says high commodity prices are “offsetting some of the dollar value losses, “which is helping consumer confidence in efficiency technologies.”

Since 2006 more than 50 Australian companies have promoted products and services ranging from minimum tillage equipment to organic fertilizers and safety equipment, according to Ian Smith, commissioner for the Australian Trade Commission in the Chicago area. The commission helped create the Australian pavilion in 2006.

“Australia has some of the most efficient farmers and best farm inventors in the world,” Smith says.

About a dozen Italian companies will be in Pavilion C to showcase Italian-made tractors, planters, transplanters, and other equipment and services.

“Italy produces about $10 billion worth of agricultural machinery annually and 58 percent is exported to over 150 countries,” says Alessandro Mussa, assistant trade commissioner, Italian Trade Commission, Atlanta, Ga. “Outside of Europe, the United States is the most important market for Italian farm machinery.”

In the first half of this year, Italian farm equipment exports to the U.S. increased about 21 percent, Mussa says. Italy is the world’s second largest farm equipment manufacturer behind the United States.

Italy-based Fiat is the parent company of New Holland and Case farm equipment. Italian-built farm equipment manufacturers include Same and Landini. Italian tractors are popular in California, Mussa says, since Italy and California have similar Mediterranean growing conditions and produce specialty crops.

“California is the largest producer of specialty crops in the U.S., and Italian-made equipment is well-suited for California agriculture,” Mussa said. “World Ag Expo is a win-win situation for Italian companies that target California as a primary market for their products.”

Triolet Mullos, a 58-year-old company in The Netherlands, manufacturers livestock feeding equipment and exhibits at World Ag Expo because the event draws customers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Company spokesman Jeroen Meijerink says, “We have good experiences at Expo with new and current customers.”

North West Rubber’s Expo exhibit provides good exposure to farmers and other product distributors, says the company’s Johanna Newell. “World Ag Expo is a good venue to learn from each other.”

The Abbotsford, British Columbia-based company manufactures recycled matting and distributes flooring products for agricultural, industrial, recreational and safety use.

Nuhn Industries Ltd., Sebringville, Ontario, is a 106-year-old company that manufactures liquid manure spreaders, agitators, pumps and slurry tankers. President Dennis Nuhn says, “World Ag Expo is the best show of its kind that we attend.” The company makes significant business contacts during the three-day farm show.

Neal Diamond of Artex Barn Solutions, Abbotsford, British Columbia, says exhibiting at the Expo is essential for this manufacturer of cattle stalls and related accessories.

“This is where the world truly meets to see what is happening in agriculture. It’s where all the players gather. If we didn’t make significant contacts, we wouldn’t come back.”

Cravo Equipment Ltd. is a three-time WAE exhibitor, says DF Call. Based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the company claims the title of “world leader in retractable roofs.” Cravo constructs retractable roof A-frame greenhouses, flat roof cold protection and shade structures, shade systems, barns and pool enclosures.

Successfully reaching out to current and potential customers is why Aqua Systems 2000 Inc., Lethbridge, Alberta, has exhibited for four years. The company showcases its line of innovative products for water control and management.

“World Ag Expo is held in the heart of one of our largest market areas and draws potential customers from an even larger area,” says Aqua System’s Ken Craig.

This is the third year at World Ag Expo for CropCam of Stony Mountain, Manitoba. The company produces a radio controlled glider plane equipped with a digital camera controlled by an autopilot, along with pre-programmed ground control software to generate visual field images for agriculture, forestry, mapping and other uses.

CropCam’s Lisa Shaw says, “World Ag Expo offers a precision agriculture-geographic information system (GIS) section. Plus, there is an international component that has helped us gain contacts in Australia.”

Camoplast, headquartered in Sherbrooke, Quebec, designs, develops and manufactures specialized components, sub-systems and assemblies for the world leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of both on- and off-road vehicles.

“Camoplast exhibits at World Ag Expo because California continues to be at the forefront of the agriculture industry,” says spokesman Steve Cook. “This is especially true when it comes to the use of machinery that utilizes our products and technology — tracks and track systems.”

“The Expo is a valuable way to meet the end users of our products,” Cook says. “We make significant local contacts each year and have noticed an increase in international visitors the past two years.”

About 700 international visitors are expected to attend the 2009 Expo.

email: cblake@farmpress.com