An in-depth look at energy issues and concerns affecting agriculture will be the focus of a special seminar at the 54th annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, to be held at Memphis March 3-4.

In addition to affording an up close and personal look at a host of new equipment, products, and services, the annual event will also feature a session dealing with cottonseed issues.

“The big runup in energy prices has had a major impact on every sector of agriculture — from gins to production to transportation,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the show.

Delta Farm Press is the show's co-sponsor once again this year.

“Ginning operations have been affected by the huge increase in natural gas prices, along with nitrogen fertilizers.

“We'll have a number of specialists on hand to discuss the energy situation and what producers may expect as they plan for the coming season. “

The Saturday afternoon special seminar will be held at 1:30 in the downtown Cook Convention Center, where the big farm show will take place.

“We're also expecting a lot of interest in the session on cottonseed at our annual meeting Thursday afternoon, Mar. 2,” Price says.

“Both farmers and ginners are concerned about what's happening with cottonseed usage and price, and we'll have experts on hand to discuss these concerns.”

And as usual, Price says the 2006 show, which spans two days and attracts more than 15,000 people, is expected to be a sellout.

“We've had a tremendous amount of interest by exhibitors and all our showrooms will be filled with companies offering a wide range of products and services.

“Since our show comes just before the start of the new season, the show will offer growers an opportunity to interact with industry suppliers and to get the latest information for use in making key crop management decisions.”

In addition to the special energy seminar, show attendees will have access to a broad range of additional information in the annual Ag Update sessions held Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30.

These will include Friday sessions on market outlooks for cotton, soybeans, and cash grains by leading industry specialists, and Saturday sessions on legislation, politics, and other key issues.

“We feel the Ag Update programs and the soybean rust seminar will offer a forum for issues of key importance to farmers this year,” Price says.

This year's show is expected to have more than 450 exhibits, Price says, running the gamut from the latest equipment, to seed, chemicals, and services.

“We have many new exhibitors, bringing a new array of products,” Price says, “and a lot of our every-year exhibitors are increasing their space, so it's going to be a very diverse show spanning all the major Mid-South crops.

“While we're proud of the cotton and ginning heritage of the show, it has evolved over the years into a stage for exhibitors representing all of our crops. We believe it is the premier indoor farm show in the South.”

“Memphis is a fun place for the entire family to spend a weekend,” Price says, “and we hope everyone will mark their calendars and plan to come and be a part of this year's big show.”

Coinciding with the show is the annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and its member associations from Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas-Missouri, and a number of ginner events are held during the week of the show.