For thousands of farmers, ginners, agribusiness representatives, and others interested in Mid-South agriculture, Memphis is the place to be the first weekend in March.

That's when the annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will be held, and over the decades it has become a must-attend event for anyone related to farming and ginning.

This year's show, set for March 3-4 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, will feature more than 400 exhibitors from more than 40 states and three foreign countries, occupying over 200,000 feet of the recently-expanded facilities.

From the latest in farm equipment and technologies, to seed and chemicals, and a host of related products and services, attendees will have a chance to see it all, up close and personal, and to talk firsthand with representatives of the companies involved.

The event, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation and Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, allows regional producers to jump start another crop year, says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president and show manager.

“Many changes are taking place in agriculture and our show gives everyone a great opportunity to get up-to-date on products and issues that will affect their businesses,” he says.

Two issues of concern to growers and ginners — spiraling energy costs and cottonseed — will be the focus of two informational sessions to be held during the show and at the annual meeting of the ginner association.

“Energy prices are increasingly a concern for our industry,” Price says, “and our special seminar will bring together top government officials, energy company representatives, and others to provide their perspectives on how these costs will affect agriculture this year and into the future.”

Speakers for the seminar, to be held Saturday, March 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the convention center, will include Thomas Dorr, Undersecretary for Rural Development, USDA; Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson; Ken Erickson, vice president of transportation services for Informa Economics; and representatives of state agencies, energy distribution organizations, and farmers.

A question-and-answer session will be held following the presentations, and representatives from all energy procurement and marketing sectors will be available.

At the SCGA annual meeting Thursday, March 2, at the Peabody Hotel, speakers will discuss possible ways to resolve the issue of declining revenues from cottonseed.

Participants will include Thomas Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research for Cotton Incorporated; Dale Gustafson, senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Citigroup Global Markets; Bobby Greene, chief executive officer of Servico Gin and of Cottonseed Incorporated; and Russell Kuhnhenn, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

This year's show will also include the perennially popular Ag Update informational sessions Friday and Saturday, with speakers providing crop and legislative outlooks. Program participants are:

Friday, 8:30 a.m.: Lloyd C. Day, administrator for USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service; Allen Helms, Jr., incoming chairman of the National Cotton Council, who will discuss cotton legislation and issues; Carl Brothers, senior vice president of Riceland Foods, who will present the rice outlook; and William B. Dunavant, chairman of the board of Dunavant Enterprises, who will discuss the outlook for U.S. and world cotton.

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: Richard Brock, president of Brock Associates, will discuss the grain market outlook and marketing strategies.

“We feel we have an outstanding lineup of speakers for these sessions,” Price says, “and we hope everyone will plan to attend.”

There is no admission for the show or any of the informational sessions, but registration is required for admittance to the show and the energy seminar. Registration may be accomplished in one of the following ways:

  • Register online at the show's Web site, southerncottonginners.org Click on News & Events, then on Energy Seminar.

  • Fax your name, business, and business location to the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, at 901/947-3103.

  • Telephone 901/947-3104 and provide registration information.

  • Register in person at the show registration area on the lobby floor of the Cook Convention Center.

For additional information on the energy seminar or the show and related events, telephone 901/947-3104, or visit the show's Web site.