Sun Belt Ag Expo talks ramifications of 2020 cancellation

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(MOULTRIE, GA) – Spence Field will not be bustling this coming October, as the Sun Belt Agricultural Expo announced Friday morning that for the first time in the event’s history, the expo will not happen.

It’s a decision Sun Belt’s VP of Public Relations, Becca Turner says they didn’t take lightly.

“It was made really with the goal of protecting our exhibitors and our attendees primarily. Even more so out of respect for our exhibitors…”

The cancellation of the expo also poses additional problems through the rest of 2020.

Specifically the millions in tourism dollars that the Southwest Georgia region will now miss out on.

“What i’m concerned by is that by not having this expo this year, how will this impact activity in the next three, four, five months…,” says Albany State University Economics Professor, Aaron Johnson.

In 2019, the Sun Belt expo generated $16 million as well as nearly 200 temporary jobs.

Now though, they had to make the decision months before the expo was set to take place, they were uncertain how things would pan out for exhibitors coming from out of state.

“Certainly, none of us will have any idea of what will be going on in regards to health and safety within our country in october. But we do know exhibitors have to plan now for that, and if we were to have to wait and cancel in september or even the first of october, we would not be very respectful of our exhibitors and the panning process,” says Turner.

Regardless, the short-term impact of the cancellation of the expo will hit the area with the loss of those tourism dollars.

Professor Johnson tell us, “Not only are you losing opportunities for those seasonal employees, but think about the loss of investments in preparing for this opportunity.”

As this year’s expo is now off the table, Sun Belt officials are hoping and planning to be back in 2021 from October 19-21.