When the Mid-South Farm & Gin Supply Exhibit launched in 1951, American farmers attending were optimistic about the future. After all, they were coming off a decade described by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a decade of technological revolution in which “agricultural technology brought increased yields and more specialized, capital-intensive farms.”

That description is not unlike the environment today in which technology has, again, revolutionized American agriculture.

Many of those technological revolutions will be on display at the Cook Convention Center, Feb. 25-26, 2011, at the 59th annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. And farmers attending will likely display a similar optimism as those who attended that first show, according to Timothy L. Price, show manager. “The optimism will be coupled with excitement and an air of uncertainty due to the change, turn-around, and restructuring of the past several years,” Price says.

Price notes the volatility of historic high crop and input prices followed by significant challenges fueled by the economic downturn, but says, “Yet, in the past year, prices have rebounded and we have seen an unbelievable harvest in terms of weather. In many ways, we’re still catching our breath as we enter a new decade. We’re optimistic, but uncertain, because there are so many variables in play that can move our business one way or the other in a short period of time.”

Sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation and Delta Farm Press, the South’s largest indoor farm show will include more than 400 exhibitors, featuring the latest products and services available for farmers.

Bumper crop of new products

“Two years ago, machinery manufacturers introduced on-board cotton module builders at this show,” Price says. “We expect many ‘firsts’ again in 2011. We are experiencing a bumper crop of new products and services; farmers attending will get the first look at technology to help them produce and market crops.”

In addition to seeing the latest innovations in, among other things, machinery, equipment, and crop genetics, farmers will have face-to-face access to industry experts who can provide valuable information.

“As agriculture continues to change, farmers covet the one-on-one interaction with those individuals who have the knowledge about the products and services they need to be successful. Add to that the interaction available between and among farmers, and the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show becomes an invaluable event,” Price says.

Informational Ag Update education seminars will be held Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and will feature outlooks for cotton and grains as well as comments from cotton industry officials. Price says the seminars will provide information to address uncertainty remaining in the industry.

“We still aren’t sure the recovery seen in agriculture is real,” he says. “These sessions go beyond the basic market outlook to provide marketing strategies and technology to help farmers develop the skills they need to meet new and emerging challenges. As market volatility continues, these seminars will provide outlook and direction farmers can use as they plan for the future.”

In addition to the Ag Update seminars, a special educational seminar on weed resistance and invasive species is planned for Saturday afternoon. University and industry specialists will address the challenges associated with resistant weeds and invasive species and outline potential solutions.

“We initiated a discussion last year about glyphosate-resistant weeds and ways farmers can address the resistance,” Price says. “Invasive species are increasingly a challenge, as well, and this special seminar will provide the latest information on both issues.”

More than 20,000 domestic and international decision-makers are expected at the 59th annual show. Admission is free, but registration is required to visit the show areas. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Price notes that show staff will implement social technology as a new means of communicating with those attending the show, as well as those who cannot attend.

“We know there are a number of farmers who use Facebook and Twitter to communicate and we want them to have the option of accessing their information via these channels,” he says.

For additional information, contact Price at (901) 947-3104 or visit the official show website at http://www.farmandginshow.com.