With more than 1,700 exhibitors signed up to showcase their wares in 2.6 million square feet of show grounds, World Ag Expo will soon be ready to welcome more than 100,000 people from 67 countries for its 41st annual edition.

Dates this year are Feb. 12-14 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif. The 2008 World Ag Expo theme is “Where the World of Agriculture Means Business.”

And the show starts an hour earlier than ever before, 8 a.m. each day. With acres of new innovations and technology, visitors will need the extra hour to see everything exhibitors have to offer. From the showcased exhibits in the New Products Center to a wide range of seminars, ride and drive demonstration areas, special expo events and new product roll-outs; World Ag Expo is a three-day event packed with tools and information.

This year's Expo will also introduce attendee electronic registration. Due to exhibitor requests, Expo leadership is working with a leading electronic registration company to register show attendees before they enter the grounds. Attendees will provide general demographic and production information and receive a printed badge for Expo entrance.

The registration system will also enter attendees into a drawing for a 2008 Dodge truck and will act as admission to the West Coast Nationals Power Pulling Series in the evening.

The grounds will expand again with the addition of the Dairy Technology Center (DTC) and surrounding outdoor dairy exhibit space.

The new dairy center sponsored by Bella Health Systems, will increase the already 500 dairy exhibits to more than 600. Showcased in the DTC will be the Top Five New Dairy Products at World Ag Expo, selected by a panel of industry experts.

Although the show is undergoing tremendous change and making exciting additions to meet industry needs, the Expo has a special history in the Central Valley full of tradition and growth. The show began in 1968, and was held at the Tulare County Fairgrounds in Tulare. The first show attracted 157 exhibitors and 28,000 attendees. By the second year, the show doubled in both attendees and exhibitors, and has continued to grow ever since.

Originally the “Tulare Field and Row Crop Equipment Show,” it quickly outgrew its name and location. In 1982, the Expo opened on a new facility off Highway 99, the International Agri-Center, owned and operated by the 1,200 volunteers of the organization. Finally in 2001, the show adopted its current name, World Ag Expo.

The key element to the success of World Ag Expo is the “Orange Jacket Volunteers.” These dedicated, unpaid volunteers are the heart and soul of the largest agricultural exposition in the world. The show idea was created by volunteers, started by volunteers, and has been operated by volunteers since the beginning.