For the 26th consecutive year Stockton Ag Expo will be the first major farm equipment show in 2002 on Jan. 22-24 at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, Stockton, Calif.

The latest in ag equipment, goods and services will be on display in five big exhibits buildings and outside on acres of hard-surfaced display areas. In recent years, Stockton Ag Expo became a “selling show” by allowing exhibitors to do business right at the show. However, the major share comes from follow up made by the hundreds of exhibitors and manufacturing representatives.

Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first two days and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the last day.

“Our show is a centrally located, single place where farmers can first do some serious comparative shopping and buy,” said show volunteer chairperson John Demichelis, a grape grower and harvester from Ripon, Calif.

There will be 500 show exhibitors.

Most of the popular events will be offered at Stockton Ag Expo. On all three days at 2 p.m., the eight annual forklift rodeo offers open participation with daily prizes as well as a grand prize. At 3 p.m. the Early Day Gas Engines come out of their display area in a popular parade along the midway.

Parking is free and adults pay admission of $5 and $2 for children 6-12 accompanied by parents. Those in 4-H and FFA uniforms are admitted free.

Some lucky person taking in the expo will take home $250.

It's all part of a plan by farm show leaders to motivate show attendees to take in all exhibits. Union Safe Deposit Bank, Stockton is sponsoring the drawing.

Here's how it works. Each person entering fairgrounds will receives a coupon they can drop in a container in buildings at the other end of the grounds from where they entered.

The day after the show, expo officials will deposit all tickets in a single container and draw the winning coupon.

Federal, state and local agencies will continue in their educational roles at the expo. New to the show this year will be the Cal Fed Bay-Delta program charged with mapping the future of the key California Delta water distribution system. Also new will be the USDA Market News which daily publishes commodity information for farmers.

Getting to the expo is easy. Most visitors find Interstate 5 or Highway 99 the best when driving to the fairgrounds. Off Interstate 5 the direction is east on Charter Way to Airport. Off Highway 99 southbound, it's west on Charter Way to Airport (if northbound from Highway 99 take Mariposa to Charter to Airport).

Stockton Ag Expo is a project of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.