'Always something interesting' at Colusa Farm Show
WHAT: 48th annual Colusa Farm Show.
WHERE: Colusa Fairgrounds in Colusa.
WHEN: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
David Zwald was in grade school when he went to his first Colusa Farm Show.
"It was always pretty exciting," said Zwald, 54.
It still is.
"I always find something interesting," he said.
Now chairman of the Farm Show Committee for the event, which opens on Tuesday at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, he said 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected — depending on the weather.
And that looks pretty good, Zwald said.
"They're calling for a chance of rain on Wednesday, but they keep pushing it off," he said of the forecast.
The Colusa Farm Show, in its 48th year, is the oldest in California.
Roots of the event run deep for exhibitors like Stokes Ladders of Kelseyville. The company, which manufactures aluminum ladders for agricultural use, has been appearing at the event since its beginning nearly a half-century ago.
"We've been there every year," President Greg Panella said of the company. "We've met a lot of people over the years."
Panella said it's hard not to be dazzled by what's on display at the trade show.
"I was just really impressed with the amount of the equipment," he said.
Tuesday's Farm Show seminars include the risk management agency for the US Department of Agriculture detailing risk management for new women and Hispanic farmers.
Topics will include: decision support tools, specialty crop insurance, enterprise budget development, financial planning, recordkeeping, identification of risk-bearing ability and tolerance, and Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices program development.
Cody Miller, a policy analyst with Agrilogic Consulting in College Station, Texas, who will talk Tuesday, said the challenges of agriculture are universal.
"Just like any farmer," Miller said, "weather is probably the biggest hurdle."
He urged anyone with an interest in agriculture to attend.
"This may be something to help spur them to get in the business," he said of the 10 a.m. seminar at the Stagehands Theater.
Farming benefits from higher food prices and improved practices, Miller noted.
"It's just become a better business," he said.
Zwald said that just what exhibits people will flock to is no snap to know.
"It's hard to say. There's such a wide variety," he said.
But GPS — global positioning systems — and precision farming, which includes use of satellite data to manage croplands, should prove popular, Zwald said.
Keeping admission and parking free — for which some other such shows in the state charge — is a key interest of the Colusa Farm Show, he said.
Farmers, local government representatives, bankers and chemical business people are among those who serve on the Farm Show Committee.
"With that variety," Zwald said, "it brings a vast array of options."
"That's what keeps it going," he said.
The Colusa Farm Show, while the oldest in California, is not the biggest. That honor goes to the show in Tulare County — which Zwald said had help from Colusa.
Officials from the San Joaquin Valley county came 47 years ago to the second Farm Show in Colusa and copied the event, Zwald said.
Liza Teixeira, spokeswoman for the World Ag Expo, slated Feb. 12-14 in Tulare County, said she couldn't comment on that point of history.
"I'm not aware of that," she said. "I wasn't around."
Governor will attend event
Gov. Jerry Brown will attend the Agricultural Leadership Foundation Breakfast at 7 a.m. Wednesday in St. Bernadette's Hall — across from the fairgrounds where the Colusa Farm Show is held.
The governor's office said Friday it's expected Brown will make some brief remarks.
Vernon Crowder, senior vice president and agricultural economist for Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, will be the keynote speaker. He analyzes market research on California agribusiness as well as the North American fresh fruit and produce sectors.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross is also scheduled to appear at the breakfast at 745 Ware Avenue in Colusa. The breakfast has raised more than $170,000 for scholarships and leadership programs in its 11-year history.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 by contacting Chico State's College of Agriculture office at 898-5844 The price will rise to $30 at the door. All proceeds go to the College of Agriculture and the Ag Leadership Foundation.
David Zwald, chairman of the Farm Show Committee, said the timing of Brown's appearance is good.
"His popularity is climbing," Zwald said.