In the midst of ongoing uncertainty about the economy, the changing Mid-South agricultural landscape, and input prices, the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show remains a friendly, familiar gathering spot for thousands throughout the southern U.S., according to Tim Price, show manager.

“It may seem strange to some to connect a farm show with optimism,” he says, “but this event provides opportunity for people to come together and interact with others they have met in previous years to make future plans, while still addressing the pressing decisions of the day.

“The show really invigorates people by offering a first look at new technology, and a first listen to respected analysts who bring information on market potential and marketing techniques.”

Set for Feb. 27-28 at the downtown Memphis Cook Convention Center, the 57th annual show is sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

More than 20,000 domestic and international decision-makers are expected to attend the event that will have more than 400 exhibitors.

“Last year, a key highlight was the new on-board module cotton picker, an exciting technology for the cotton industry,” Price says. “But that debut seems years ago, as farmers have endured a rollercoaster year of record high crop and input prices, as well as weather damage. We’re certainly in a very different environment now.”

But as it has been for the past 56 years, he notes, the show “is a familiar place where people can bring family, meet long-standing friends and new acquaintances, and talk about the issues of the day, while getting a firsthand look at new, innovative technology that helps address specific farming issues.”

The 2009 show will encompass both the familiar and the cutting edge as companies unveil new technologies in seed and crop inputs, as well as equipment updates and new equipment that will make farming easier and potentially more profitable.

“And our informational sessions continue to be a forum for experts in many fields, who are tapped in across the world and can offer farmers the latest insight into developments and issues that will have an impact on their decisions.”

Speakers for the ever-popular Ag Update Seminars Friday and Saturday will include Joe Nicosia, who will present the outlook for U.S. and world cotton; Carl Brothers, who will discuss the outlook for rice and wheat; a National Cotton Council representative who will discuss farm bill and legislative issues; and Richard Brock, who will return to headline the Saturday morning session on marketing. A special Saturday seminar is also planned.

Member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting and other events during the week. They include the Arkansas/Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana Cotton Ginners Associations.

Exhibit hours at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Visitors who view the exhibit areas are eligible for prizes, which will be awarded each afternoon, including $2,000 in attendance prizes awarded daily.

For additional information, contact Price at (901) 947.3104 or visit the Web site: www.farmandginshow.com.