Tuesday, Feb 12 2013 06:49 PM

World Ag Expo showcases latest farm advances

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The World Ag Expo in Tulare opened for its annual three-day run on Tuesday. Sunny skies brought out a good crowd to view some of the latest in agriculture.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Mike Murphy, right, demonstrates a hammer to Jeff Freeman at the Hammer Works booth during the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The hammer, Murphy says, will not damage what you are beating on.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    German businessman Thomas Clemens with Clemens Vineyard Equipment, Inc. was one of the winners of the top ten products at this year's World Ag Expo in Tulare.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A Yamaha vehicle is test driven on an off road course at the World Ag Expo in Tulare Tuesday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Fred L. Riplo, left, president of Grip Trac talks business with Scott Dastrup from Arizona during the first day of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The expo draws people from all over the nation and the world.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    At the World Ag Expo in Tulare on Tuesday, Southern California Edison linemen give a demonstration in working around high voltage.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A mechanized grape harvester gets a good look by people attending the World Ag Expo in Tulare.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Families get a chance to get pictures of their children on big equipment at the World Ag Expo.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer

TULARE -- The rows of colorful and massive farming machinery seem never-ending when looking down the paths lining the expo. More than 1,400 exhibitors are displaying the latest in farm equipment, communication and technology on 2.5 million square feet at the 2013 World Ag Expo, which continues through Thursday.

"It's good to see the scope of American agriculture," said Bruce Norton, 52, who's enjoyed the expo for 20 years.

Related Info

If you want to go

Show hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday

Admission: One-day admission is $12 at the gate; children 6 and under are admitted free.

Address: 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare

More information: (888) 999-9186 or (559) 688-1030

That great array of innovation was on display throughout the expo, but perhaps especially among the winners of awards for the top 10 new products of the year, which were selected by an ag business profession committee.

CLEMENS Co., based in Germany, earned its first expo award for its $200,000 vineyard and agricultural machine -- the Mechanical Transplanting Machine "VINESCOUT."

"Planting by hand disappeared in Europe 20 years ago," said Thomas Clemens, the business owner. "I think right now the time is perfect for Kern County to find a mechanical solution to take over the planting by hand method that has been used for a long time."

His machine was introduced in the farming market in Europe four years ago. He opened an outlet of the company in Woodland and has operated in California for the last 13 years.

According to Clemens, VINESCOUT planting brings better results for the vineyard later on and the growth of the vine is noticeable from one year to the next.

"The machine is GPS guided and two people sit on the machine and feed the information to the system and the labor is done in no more than an hour, even if you are dealing with 50 or 100 acres of land," he said.

Last year, Clemens planted 120 acres of vineyards in Kern County. This year he will use the VINESCOUT machine to plant more to promote the new machine. Clemens didn't think the machine would take jobs away from farm workers.

"I personally don't think I am taking away from the jobs people perform in the field," Clemens said. "It's such physical work to plant vineyards and other agriculture by hand that I am sure nobody really likes to do the job, so bringing in a machine that can take care of that, will be a benefit."

The new machinery caught the eye of Will Unger, 29, from Portland, Ore., who has attended the expo for the past six years.

"I farm blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in Portland," he said. "And I enjoy coming all the way to this massive expo in Tulare because it's a good way to see the different products suppliers are coming up with to help us farmers produce faster and better quality crops."

Inside one of the busiest buildings of the expo, Mike Murphy, with product development and manufacturing of Hammer Works Manufacturing, isn't new to the expo, but is new to the Top 10 Award.

"Last year our Dead Blow Hammer didn't make it on the Top 10 list because we submitted the application too late, but this year our Quick Release Battery Connectors did and it was humbling being recognized amongst so many exhibitors here," Murphy said.

The Quick Release Battery Connector can be easily disconnected and moved to another car, leisure vehicle or boat, and no tools are needed. The battery can be disconnected in a few seconds, preventing discharging, according to the company's pamphlet.

"CarQuest came to us and told us they wanted to vendor our products," Murphy said.

"We are a 2-year-old family oriented business and it's an honor to be helping any way we can," he said. Murphy plans for continued growth but wants to stay firmly grounded in the United States.

"We don't want to have products produced in China or any other country because our concept is to give back to the community and to society," he said.

Contributing to the community is something Kathy Yantis, 51, of Bakersfield, likes to hear.

"My husband is in pistachio farming and we have been coming to the expo yearly because it allows us to see the new innovations and improvements we can make to our farm," Yantis said.

"California is the largest agriculture producing state and the expo being so close to us, enables people to come, communicate and learn the upcoming stuff that can help produce more for the state."

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