If the annual Pasco Ag Show were a person, it might look a bit like the "PC" guy from the Apple commercials: middle-aged, bookish, ho-hum.
Organizers, however, are working on a makeover; preferably styled like the Mac dude: hip, savvy, contemporary.
"We want to put the show back on the map," said Terry Marie Fleisch-man, co-chair of REAL AG 2010, the show's new name.
Organizers like Fleischman are hoping to attract teens and college students who may think "agriculture" and picture a weathered old man in overalls gnawing on a wheat stem.
Instead, she wants them to envision an adult -- man or woman -- using a GPS to harvest grain fields with absolute precision or tracking soil moisture or ground slope with computer programs.
"It's very high-tech," Fleischman said.
Fleischman orchestrated a roundtable Monday at Columbia Basin College, where participants offered their input on what the event's new face should look like and how the makeover could be achieved. That new looks may not be revealed until REAL AG 2011. Fleischman said few changes are planned at the 2010 event set for Jan. 5-6 at TRAC in Pasco.
She wants future REAL AG shows to highlight the region's "premier" crop production, which sends certain crops, like apples, hops and grapes, around the state, nation and even world. She's hoping to bring in speakers and instructors that match the region's agricultural significance.
"Ideally, ... in the years to come, it would be an educational symposium," she said, adding that she'd like the ag show to feature "world-renown speakers to give a global perspective."
Nikki Gerds, executive director of the Pasco Chamber of Commerce, said she wants to see the ag show feature more classes and demonstrations. The hands-on approach could attract a younger audience, said Lisa Toomey, special projects director at CBC.
Organizers want to include scholarship opportunities, contests and employment opportunities at future ag shows as well, which they believe will entice youth to attend.
-- Drew Foster: 585-7207; email@example.com