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Glenn firms strut their farm goods
Two years ago, Ross Puterbaugh of Chico couldn't imagine himself at a farm trade show.
But when the gates of the 48th annual Colusa Farm Show opened Tuesday, the former bus driver from Oregon was waiting in line.
"I never thought I would become a farmer at the ripe old age of 70, but that is what I'm going to do," Puterbaugh said. "I'm just not the one that is going to do the heavy lifting."
Like thousands of others who will attend the three-day exposition at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, Puterbaugh said it's all about learning the "ins and outs" of equipment, services and products associated with an agricultural business.
Puterbaugh said he is looking at investing in a west Glenn County walnut operation.
Walnut values have increased from $70 million in 2010 to nearly $103,000 million in 2011, and grown on about 17,600 acres in Glenn County, according to the annual crop report by Department of Agriculture.
Thirty years ago, walnuts in the Glenn County were grown on about 4,500 acres at a value of about $2.8 million.
The Colusa Farm Show is the oldest agricultural exposition in the Western United States to attract mostly farmers and ranchers in Northern California.
About 40,000 people are expected to attend, organizers said.
For the 300 vendors at the Colusa show, the contact with the public is invaluable.
"It's a pretty big project to make a satellite location in Willows," said Kathy Morrison, of ITF Supply.
ITF made its return to the Farm Show after a long hiatus about three years ago in order to showcase some of its new line of products, including the Schaben sprayer.
"It's a good product," said Kyle Trebler, ITF salesman. "It's nice to show it off."
Morrison said the company made two sales in the first hour of the Colusa Farm Show and met many potential new customers.
"We also blessed our customers with a 10 percent discount and we have a give-away," said Morrison, keeping with a decades old tradition at the Farm Show that allows visitors to walk away with bag full of free samples, prizes and gifts.
Since 2008, most crop prices have allowed farmers to invest in the kind of farm equipment and specialty projects that will likely last for decades, through good economic times and bad.
At the same time, Farm Show exhibitors aggressively pursue new market opportunities and adjust their strategic plans to reflect changes, not just in agriculture but the economy.
When D & S Ventures, a demolition and steel recycling business out of Sacramento, got their start about eight years ago, the prices for scarp metal remained steady.
"In 2008, the price for scrap metal dropped," said owner Sarrah Meddock, whose husband Dwayne founded the business. "But working with companies like Schnitzer, we are able to ship scrap metal to China and all over the world. Because of that we are able to pass on the savings to our clients and pay top dollar for scrap."
Since coming to the Farm Show six years ago, D & S have been demolishing and cleaning up farms and industrial sites up and down the valley.
"People trust us on their property," said salesman Ed Cervantes. "That is a huge thing."
Longtime vendors at the Farm Show say the people they meet keep them coming back year after year.
"This is an important show for us," said Jerry Kraemer of Kraemer & Co. Manufacturing of Orland.
Kraemer's drying and storage facilities and conveyors are seen all across the north state, particularly in Glenn, Colusa and Butte Counties.
The company has been at the Colusa Farm Show every year the past 25 years, and will head down to Tulare's World Ag Expo next week.
The Colusa Farm Show continues today and Thursday.
Gov. Jerry Brown will attend the Agricultural Leadership Foundation Breakfast at 7 a.m. today in St. Bernadette's Hall, across from the fairgrounds where the Colusa Farm Show is held.
The governor's office said Brown is expected to make some brief remarks.
Vernon Crowder, senior vice president and agricultural economist for Rabobank's Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, will be the keynote speaker.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.