February 7, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

Some 800 people swarmed the Executive Inn's exposition center and surrounding conference rooms last week to review the latest in agricultural information and technology.

"I come to hopefully be exposed to things I'm not going to be exposed to otherwise," said Joe Foster, a Daviess County farmer. "It gives you a chance to hear other people's insights. You can read articles or hear about something, but when you hear it from the person actually making the news, you have a better sense that it is for real."

This was the 27th year for the event sponsored by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and farmers come from throughout a number of Kentucky counties and several surrounding states.

The agenda is planned each year by a committee of farmers and agribusiness people. In addition to the educational aspects of the event, farmers say it is also a time to catch up with fellow farmers about what's happening in their lives and on their farms.

"I try to come every year, just to see everybody," said Gary Cecil, another Daviess County farmer. "A big part of it is social. You get to talk to people you haven't talked to all year. And the trade show, there are some new things there sometimes."

While the event is held annually in Owensboro, it is a regional program. Extension agents from the Green River Area as well as from southern Indiana also help put the event together.

"We have a lot of farmers, farming in different counties and even states now, so obviously, our approach has to be regional," said Wayne Mattingly, Daviess County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

"Basically, what we've been trying to do, and I think it is as true today as it was 27 years ago, is to offer a program to farmers that is unfiltered and still has the unbiased sources of information that the extension service has been relied on for since the beginning," he said.

At the expo center, Mattingly said they try to combine two things that farmers need - a look at the commercial side through the trade show and the educational aspects of the seminar.

Ag Expo has been attracting about 800 farmers for several years, despite the continuing decline in the number of farmers.

"I think that shows this is a program that is still quite viable," he said.


Wayne Mattingly, (270) 685-8480