From the GM Sierra’s six-way tailgate to the suite of new precision technology on the 2019 Case IH harvester, the Colusa Farm Show was all about the latest innovations in the agriculture industry.
About 30,000 people are estimated to have come out to the Colusa County Fairgrounds for the three-day show, which wrapped its 54th year on Thursday.
Good weather all three days was likely responsible for the steady stream of visitors, with a far less tapering off in attendance on the final day than was usual, vendors said. “This (was) the best turnout for a Thursday, and I’ve been coming to this show for 20 years,” said Maureen Luikens, of Golden State Farm Credit. “It’s been a great show altogether.”
On Feb. 6, more than 450 people attended the 17th Colusa Farm Show Rabobank Breakfast at St. Bernadette’s Hall, hosted by the alumni of the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, and Alpha Gamma Rho.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea gave the keynote address, speaking about the devastating Camp Fire that destroyed much of Paradise.
All proceeds from the breakfast go to scholarships and leadership programs, organizers said, and the event has raised more than $450,000 since it was started at the Colusa Farm Show almost two decades ago.
About 350 vendors participated in this year’s Farm Show, including a number of new food vendors. Many boasted a high number of sales.
Although the Colusa Farm Show is largely to match farmers and ranchers with the suppliers of ever-changing technology, services, and farm implements, there was also plenty of agriculture education to go around.
Hundreds of students were bussed to the Colusa Farm Show from schools around the North State, including a group of 47 students from Upper Lake High School.
“Our FFA teacher thought it would be interesting for us to get out of the classroom and explore a little,” said Atlantis Jones, 15, a freshman, whose family raises walnuts and other tree crops in Lake County.
This was Jones’ first Colusa Farm Show, and she said what she found fascinating was the size that farm equipment can reach, particularly for flatland crops like rice.
“We have small tractors that plow our fields so it was interesting how big some of these things get,” she said.
Alyssa Lindsey, a 16-year-old Upper Lake junior, was like many people who enjoy the tradition of handouts from Colusa Farm Show vendors, including pens, pencils, totes, and candy.
“I like getting all the free stuff,” Lindsey said.
The Natural Resource Conservation District also debuted their new inflatable soil tunnel at the Farm Show, which teaches the public the importance of soil heath.
While some vendors reported record sales in services and equipment, there were also reminders of how precarious the farming industry can be in a progressive-leaning state.
An active presence of the Colusa County Farm Bureau during the three-day run of the “granddaddy” of farm shows highlighted the need for industry – as well as non-industry individuals – to stay involved in protecting California and Colusa County agriculture, which provides people with an abundant food source and jobs.
“So many of us depend on agriculture for our livelihoods, but it’s getting tougher and tougher to farm,” said CCFB Director Bill Rohde, a fourth generation Colusa County farmer.
Rohde said anyone can become a member of the local Farm Bureau as well as contribute to the Farm Bureau Fund to Protect the Family Farm (FARM PAC), established by the California Farm Bureau Federation to support candidates of any party affiliation who are committed to working for the best interests of California agriculture.
“It is the fifth largest lobby group in Washington DC,” Rhode said.
Next year’s Colusa Farm Show will be held Feb. 4-6, 2020. ■