Agriculture · Business · Visalia

World Ag Expo proves to be economic boon for Tulare County. Need proof? Look to 2020.

Despite the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Tulare County’s largest events was not affected last year and proved to be a boon to the local economy. 

The 2020 World Ag Expo snuck in right before the pandemic lockdowns were enacted, as it took place from Feb. 11-13, 2020. 

The largest agriculture event in the nation had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but next year’s version is scheduled to go on in February 2022. 

Over 106,000 people attended the 2020 event, and 1,400 exhibitors from all over the world set up shop in Tulare County. 

In order to understand the economic impact of the World Ag Expo on Tulare County, the International Agri-Center commissioned a report from research firm Beacon Economics to analyze the economic and fiscal impact. 

The report revealed that the Expo cost a total of $2.4 million while it brought around $30 million in total spending for Tulare County. 

Mazen Bou Zeineddine, manager of economic, fiscal and social impact analysis with Beacon Economics, presented the report and noted that events like the World Ag Expo are what will help local communities recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic. 

“When we think about COVID, the losses to leisure and hospitality, it’s these kinds of events that are going to help supplement and help support these industries and bring them back on track to those pre-pandemic levels,” Bou Zeineddine said. 

Tulare County restaurants were the greatest benefactor of the expo, generating over $7 million from the event, while retail brought in $6 million and the recreation industry saw a $2 million bump. 

Attendees also spent $3.2 million on accommodations outside of the area compared to $1.8 million within Tulare County. 

Statewide, the farm show generated $52.3 million in economic output, supported 568 jobs and contributed $20.3 million in labor income across the state. 

In Tulare County, the economic output totaled $30.9 million, supported 384 jobs and contributed $12.6 million in labor income. 

The rest of Central California saw $14.4 million in economic output with 153 jobs supported, totaling $5.4 in labor income. 

Tulare County was also the recipient of a substantial amount of tax revenue. The expo generated a total of $1.8 million in tax revenue, with $1.2 million of that heading directly into Tulare County coffers. 

Tulare County property tax totaled $796,000, while sales tax was the other large contributor at $304,000. 

“The World Ag Expo is the largest agricultural exhibition in the United States. This draws thousands of attendees to Central California, and as a result plays a huge part in creating significant expenditures for various different industries,” Bou Zeineddine said. 

“With around $30 million in total spending between attendees, exhibitors and operations, this is going to help create over $52 million in economic output across California, of which Tulare County is going to absorb around $31 alone.” 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.