The 50th anniversary Mid-South Farm and Gin Show is just two weeks away, and thousands of farmers, agribusiness representatives, and others are expected for the big event March 1-2 at the downtown Cook Convention Center.

The show is co-sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Delta Farm Press, and is the largest indoor exhibit of agricultural products, equipment, and services in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation.

The 80-page official program, which includes information about the show, exhibitors, things to do, places to eat, along with stories and photos spanning the show's half century of service to Mid-South agriculture, is included with this issue of Delta Farm Press. It also went to Alabama subscribers in the Feb. 13 issue of Southeast Farm Press.

“We feel we have an outstanding program, that will provide growers with helpful information in making plans for the 2002 cropping season,” says Lee Todd, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and show manager.

“We're grateful to everyone for their support over the years and for helping it become the success that it is.

“It's a tribute to all the leaders of our association who've had a hand in guiding the show along, to all the hundreds of companies that have been faithful exhibitors over the years, and to Mid-South farmers and everyone connected with agriculture for helping to make our show one of the best in the nation.”

Showgoers will find a convention center full of new equipment, as manufacturers continue improving and expanding their product lines. Most major agri-chemical and seed companies will also be represented at the event, offering growers the latest information about their products.

It is the largest indoor exhibit of agricultural products, equipment, and services in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation. Several thousand people attend the event each year.

“These are very challenging times for agriculture,” says Todd, and farmers attending the show will have an opportunity to get the latest news on agricultural issues and crop outlooks, as well as seeing firsthand the newest and latest products and services.

The yearly Ag Update informational sessions will feature the following speakers:

Friday, March 1: Kenneth B. Hood, Mississippi producer and the new chairman of the National Cotton Council, who will give an update on Council programs and legislative efforts; Richard E. Bell, president and chief executive officer of Riceland Foods, who will give the outlook for rice, soybeans, and wheat; and William “Billy” Dunavant, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, who will present his annual cotton outlook.

Saturday, March 2: Roy Cantrell, vice president of agricultural research for Cotton Incorporated, will discuss the producer-funded organization's cotton research programs, followed by USDA's William Hawks, and Bruce Scherr, president and chief executive officer of the Sparks Companies, who will discuss the outlook for agricultural commodities.

The doors for the big show open at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and close at 5 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

Member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association are holding their annual meetings in conjunction with the Farm & Gin Show.

At the group's annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 28, at 1:30 p.m. in the Venetian Room of the Peabody Hotel, speakers will be Michael Hooper, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association; Darryl Earnest, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Cotton Program; Dr. Tommy Valco, USDA Agricultural Research Service; and Dr. Jerry Gilbert of Mississippi State University.

Anyone interested in hearing these speakers is invited to attend the session.