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See the Future of Agriculture at World Ag Expo®

MurCal has been there from the very beginning!

Written by
The MurCal Blogster
Published on
February 3, 2023 1:10:09 PM PST February 3, 2023 1:10:09 PM PSTrd, February 3, 2023 1:10:09 PM PST

The World Ag Expo® is the largest annual outdoor agricultural exposition with over 1,200 exhibitors and an attendance of more than 100,000 each year on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. 

The show offers a wide range of ag-related exhibitors that display the latest in farm equipment, communications, and technology. Free seminars focus on a variety of topics important to dairy producers, farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals. It is held at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California, starting on the second Tuesday of February. It has officially been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as an affiliate of the Foreign Buyer Program, which encourages export of American-made goods.

A Little History

The World Ag Expo® began in 1968 and was originally named the “Tulare Field and Row Crop Equipment Show”; it was held at the Tulare County Fairgrounds in Tulare, Calif. The first show attracted 157 exhibitors with 28,000 attendees. When the 3-day run of the first show was complete, exhibitors were lining up to sign contracts for next year’s! The original name was quickly changed to the “California Farm Equipment Show” for the second show in 1969 which doubled in both attendees and exhibitors, and continued to grow ever since. 

In 1972, the first foreign manufacturers began moving in to display their products, leading to the name change “California Farm Equipment Show and International Exposition” and finally, the current name, “World Ag Expo,” adopted in 2001.

In 1982 the Expo outgrew its original home and moved to its current permanent location, the “International Agri-Center®”.

Our founder Art Murphy (right) in the mid 1970s with Jerry Copper from "Western Engines" at the Expo.

MurCal was There at the Very Beginning!

Art and Essie Murphy attended the very first show in 1968 sharing a booth with Frank W. Murphy Mfr. Art's brother Pat attended the event as well along with our outside salesman for the area Ted Miller. Pat had a nice Hasselblad camera that he carried around and would take pictures of customers. He would then mail them the print. 

During our first years we showed the standard FWMurphy products that applied to Ag and our own solid state control automation. 

Here's a photo from an early farm show that shows Mike Saltzman and Art Murphy in Mike's booth. This photo is still hanging in Mike's office.

MurCal has attended the show every year since. For a while, we canceled our own booth and we partnered with The Gas Company. We would put products on engines in their booth and we could remote start them and pump water. 

For a few years, we adapted a garage door opener remote so that our sales guy could wait until someone was wandering by the engine and then start it from across the street. This made for some fun reactions.

This is a great show because all of the players that matter in the Ag industry are there. It is a great place to connect or reconnect with customers that supply products as well as the farmers that use the products. We did win some great friendships and customers at the show. Bazooka Farmstar is a customer that we met there.

Our Director and Art’s son, John Murphy, recalls taking turns with Richard Lund flying to the show - weather permitting. It was a good memory and experience.

Our current President and Art’s grandson Bob Murphy, went prior to 1992 with his dad John but his first show as a full-time employee was in 1992. He said that one of his best memories is taking his son Dillon to the show in 1995. He loved climbing up in the tractors and pretending to be a farmer. 

The photo below is Bob holding him in front of an engine that had one of our EMS448 engine controllers installed.

Our Director of Operations, Jessica Iarussi, first attended in 2017 and said that the show is Valentines week every year, because it is historically the wettest week of the year and the farmers can actually come out. The great thing for us is, we can meet with the OEM, dealers, and the end users. People love our displays, and our MurCal SmartCommand is always a huge hit. 

Our VP Jim Saunders stated that the first time he went was in 2019, MurCal had a big tent and it was fully staffed. It rained a bunch which led to people in our tent a little bit more. The funny part is we were right next to “Smith Power Products” but didn't spend much time with them as they were not a big customer. Now we have an extensive presence in their booth each year.

Jim Saunders at his first AG Show in 2019

The show is a great chance to actually get to see the equipment that we are working on, it allows us to also talk directly with the engineers. Like most trade shows we are there to connect with people. We have been able to connect with some decent customers at this event and provide them with solutions. 

Engine automation is the big hit the last few years, how we help customers take their products and make them more productive for them. 

Jim recalls a fun memory from 2019, Darrell, one of our tech support guys at the time, found a hurt bird on the way in, he spent all day trying to save it but no luck. 

Everyone that has attended the show says that anyone visiting needs to make sure they stop by the ribeye sandwich booth! The sandwiches are amazing. Don't let the huge line deter you. It goes fast and the sandwiches are worth the wait!

See you there on February 14,15 & 16 2023!!!

Below are a few more photos from past AG Shows!


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