It’s a rather dry year here at the 47th annual World Ag Expo in Tulare. Water or the lack of it is on everyone’s mind.
Even though the official slogan of the expo is “Agriculture: Feeding Tomorrow’s World,” Charles Sarabian, an engineer with Preferred Pump and Equipment in Fresno, says the real theme of the show is how to conserve what little water is left.
“I think it’s what’s on everybody’s minds and it’s what makes agriculture grow without water there is no agriculture," Sarabian says.
Preferred Pump lures in buyers with solar powered irrigation pumps.Sarabian says even though the pump is costly, farmers will pay because of necessity.
“We’re pumping water just 100 percent from the sun and we can vary the speed and power according to how much sun power we have coming in," Sarabian says.
In a different pavilion on the other side of the expo, past tractors and tri tip, I met Devon Burnias, a second generation farmer who manages around 750 acres of row crops with her father south of Tulare.
She’s selling t-shirts at the Women in Agriculture booth. The brown shirt with a neon tractor decal is in line with the underlining theme of the expo – drought.
“We were trying to come up with a slogan for this year for the show, something that signifies what’s on our minds right now and that’s rain and obviously the snowpack so we decided to go with the 'Pray For Rain' slogan this year,” Burnias says.
And that’s just how dire the drought is. It’s so extreme that many farmers even at the World Ag Expo are praying for rain.