Mid-South farmers, cotton ginners, and others interested in agriculture are invited to attend the 2006 annual meetings of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, which will focus on future opportunities and challenges for cotton seed.

The meeting, to be held the day before the start of the annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, will be March 2 in the Venetian Room at the Peabody Hotel, Memphis.

“Our members told us they needed more information on cottonseed — from what has happened recently to what lies ahead,” said Tim Price, executive director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. “We believe the slate of speakers we have will provide information growers and gin owners can use to strategically address these issues in 2006 and beyond.”

Speakers will include Thomas Wedegaertner, director, cottonseed research and marketing, Cotton Incorporated; Dale Gustafson, senior grain analyst, Citigroup/Smith & Barney; and Bobby Greene, Servico Gin, Courtland, Ala. Russell Kuhnhenn, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association, will also participate, and other invited guests include oilseed processors and related cottonseed business interests.

The Mid-South Farm & Gin Supply Exhibit will be held March 3-4, at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis. Sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Delta Farm Press, it is the nation's largest indoor farm show and will feature exhibitors from more than 40 states and three foreign countries.

“It's going to be the best show ever,” says Price of the event that now attracts 20,000 or more. “Attending the show has become an early spring tradition for Mid-South farmers, ginners, and others involved in agriculture.

“Each year, we work hard to provide a broad array of equipment, products, and services, and this year we have an outstanding lineup. We have many exhibitors that have been with us for years and years — some going back to the very start of the show — and we're grateful for their continuing support. But we're also excited to have several dozen exhibitors who are here for the first time.

“More than 70 percent of all the exhibitors at this year's show have new products available, giving attendees an opportunity for a firsthand look at the latest offerings in the marketplace.”

Showgoers will find a convention center packed full of new equipment, as manufacturers continue improving or expanding their product lines.

Most major agrichemical and seed companies will also be represented, offering growers the latest information about their products and services.

“Farmers will have an opportunity to see firsthand the newest and latest products,” Price says, “as well as being able to talk face-to-face with representatives of all the major companies.”

Top government officials, energy company representatives, and farmers will offer unique perspectives on the current energy situation and its impact on agriculture at a special seminar to be held Saturday, March 4, at 1 p.m.

It will include an outlook and implications for energy costs, including pricing, transportation, and procurement of energy used in agriculture, including gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, and electricity. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentations.

Speakers will include:

  • Thomas Dorr, Under Secretary for Rural Development, USDA.

  • Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, 8th District, Missouri.

  • Ken Erickson, Vice President, Transportation Service, Informa Economics.

  • Representatives of state agencies, energy distribution companies, and farmers.

The popular Ag Update sessions, focusing on markets, legislation, and other issues will be held Friday and Saturday mornings.

Here's the lineup of speakers:

Friday, March 3, 8:30 a.m.: (All Ag Update sessions will be held in the lobby auditorium of the convention center, with SCGA President John Swayze presiding.)

  • Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, will open the session.

  • Allen Helms, Jr., Chairman, National Cotton Council, will discuss council programs and issues.

  • Carl Brothers, Senior Vice President, Riceland Foods, will discuss the outlook for rice.

  • William B. Dunavant, Chairman of the Board, Dunavant Enterprises, will give the outlook for U.S. and world cotton.

Saturday, March 4, 8:30 a.m.: Richard Brock, president, Brock Associates, will give the market outlook and strategies for marketing grain in 2006.