It’s time for the big show: The 57th annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center this Friday and Saturday.

“Thousands of farmers from around the South make the show a must-attend event each year,” says Tim Price, executive vice-president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the show. “They bring the entire family to take in the show and to enjoy a weekend in Memphis.

“But as our area of influence expands beyond the Mid-South states, and we attract an ever broader audience of farmers wanting to gather information and insight for decision-making, we want everyone to be sure the dates are clearly marked on their calendars.”

The South’s largest indoor farm show, which attracts more than 20,000 people, is co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press.

It will include over 400 exhibitors from more than 40 states and 8 foreign countries, occupying more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space in the convention center, and offering a wide range of equipment, products, services, and technology.

“Farmers have come to think of the show as ‘Decision Central,” Price says, “because they know it provides them an opportunity to meet and have one-on-one discussions with literally hundreds of experts representing all the major input companies, consultants, researchers, and Extension and university specialists.

“Industry leaders tell me they can’t recall a year when so many critical decisions still remain to be made by growers, who are confronted by unprecedented uncertainties about the slowdown in the U.S. and world economies, energy and input costs, financing availability, supply/demand, interest rates, policy, and a host of other concerns that have an impact on their planning for the 2009 season.”

In addition to interaction with fellow farmers and industry experts on the show floor and in the popular Ag Update sessions, Price says expanded meeting space is being made available for companies to conduct forums for growers or for more one-on-one discussions.

And the tradition of cash giveaways will be continued this year, with thousands of dollars in prizes, along with the extremely popular puppy giveaways.

Of major interest at this year’s show, Price says, will be the opportunity for attendees to learn about the latest developments in biotechnology, cotton harvesters with on-board module builders, and the newest precision ag technologies, new chemistries, seed, and a host of other products and services.

The show’s popular Ag Update Seminar Friday morning at 8:30, will focus on the outlook for crops and legislation.

Saturday morning at 8:30, Richard Brock, president, Brock Associates, will conduct his popular grain marketing outlook seminar, with strategies and projections for 2009.

“It’s going to be a great show,” Price says, “and we hope everyone is ‘saving the dates’ to bring the family for an informative, fun-packed weekend in Memphis.”

Exhibit areas at the show will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding its annual meeting during the week. For additional information, contact the association at 901/947-3104 or visit the Web site: www.southerncottonginners.org.