The 14th Annual National Conservation Systems Cotton & Rice Conference is headed to Baton Rouge, La.

Sponsored by Cotton Incorporated and US Rice Producers Association, and a production of MidAmerica Farm Publications, the event is scheduled for Feb. 1-2, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza, Baton Rouge, La.

As in the past 13 years, the conference is co-sponsored by the following seven universities: University of Arkansas, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, LSU Ag Center, Auburn University, and Texas A&M. USDA-NRCS of Washington, D.C., and USDA-ARS centers in the southern states are co-sponsors as well.

The conference has numerous corporate co-sponsors and will feature a large trade show. Ag-media co-sponsors are Farm Press Publications, Delta Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

This conference, a perennial success, first opened in Little Rock, Ark., in 1997 and alternated locations in succeeding years between Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. This year’s conference in Tunica, Miss., drew a record attendance of farmers who accounted for over 1.5 million acres of agricultural production last year.

“Baton Rouge is an ideal setting for the conference, providing a relaxing environment where farmers can visit with other farmers and researchers,” said John LaRose, chairman of the Conference Steering Committee.

“This conference is recognized as the leading southern agriculture production conference mainly because more than 40 farmers, along with more than 40 researchers and numerous crop consultants make presentations during the 90-plus breakout sessions,” stated LaRose. “During a given hour, there are more than 20 unique breakout sessions to choose from.”

“This is the only annual conference in the United States where attendees can participate in approximately 40 agriculture production breakout sessions being presented by actual farmers.”

As in the past, two other conferences will be sponsored by the Cotton and Rice Conference and held at the same time and location. The Mid-South Corn and Soybean Conference and the Mid-South Precision Ag Conference are held in conjunction with the Cotton & Rice Conference.

The Cotton and Rice Conference is a must-attend event for all farmers wishing to hone their production methods. The conference offers farmers ways to trim inputs while boosting yields. In recent years, both farmers and landlords have found that beyond tillage, there are many other farming resources that can be conserved through a properly designed conservation systems program. The importance of conserving soil moisture, as well as reducing fuel, labor, seed, chemical, fertilizer and other input costs is the key to economic success for all farmers and landowners.

“The main emphasis of the conference is reducing production costs and increasing yields in cotton, rice, soybeans and corn through precision agriculture in its many forms,” said LaRose.

Farmers from Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee will be able to receive their state pesticide re-certification credits. Certified crop consultants can select from over 40 hours of qualifying sessions to earn CEU’s during the conference.