The 2004 South Carolina Ag Expo will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 10-11, 2004. The annual exposition is designed for farmers and other agricultural professionals to gain the latest commodity specific information available from leading experts on a variety of topics and commodities.

Individuals will also be able to earn Certified Crop Advisor credits for attending certain sessions. The 2004 South Carolina Ag Expo educational program lineup includes sessions on:

Soybeans and small grains featuring ‘Round-Up Ready’ soybean varieties for South Carolina, the performance of Group VII and Group VIII soybean varieties in Georgia, the new small grain breeding program, and pest management for small grains.

Fruit and vegetable farmers will be interested in sessions on the nutritional needs of the sweet pepper plant, watermelon from flower to fruit, a report on the phytophthora blight strikes South Carolina vegetables, and on sweet corn — ‘How sweet is it?’

New technologies continue to emerge on the farm. This year's technologies sessions include new methods of nematode identification and control, why saving biotech seed hurts agriculture, and the agricultural impacts on Bobwhite quail.

Farmers involved with livestock or forage production can learn about fescue — where, when, and why! Will it work statewide? Bermuda and bahia — the backbone of South Carolina forages, and there will be a discussion on new forages in South Carolina.

The wildlife session will feature the economic impact of wildlife management, wild turkey biology and management, and managing dove and deer habitats.

Those interested in ornamental horticulture and turf will learn about field-grown cut flower production, and fertility requirements of grasses grown for sod.

There will be a tobacco session with seminars on the tobacco buyout program including an economic update, a report on what happened to the tomato spotted wilt virus in 2003, tobacco insects, and other tobacco industry issues and production tips.

There will two peanut sessions featuring information on weed control and other peanut issues, a peanut marketing update, and a session on how global positioning satellite technology and controlled guidance systems can increase profits on the farm.

A consumer awareness session will look at research on consumer trends and attitudes towards family farmers as it addresses ways the farmer can better tell his story to the masses.

The soil and water management session will feature field capacity and available water, and a session on soil scientists as environmentalists.

There will also be two sessions on the latest information and issues facing South Carolina cotton farmers.

Another feature of the annual South Carolina Ag Expo agenda is the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference sponsored by the South Carolina Agricultural Council. This year's participants will gain insight into South Carolina's agricultural economic performance in 2002 (the most recent statistics on record), upcoming South Carolina and U.S. weather patterns, and management strategies for southern beef cattle, southern soybeans, southern wheat and feed grains, and southern cotton.

The 2004 Ag Expo will also feature an agricultural trade exhibit area featuring ag-related vendors from across the Southeast. Limited space is still available for vendors interested in participating in the trade show.

Time has also been set aside during the 2004 South Carolina Ag Expo for the following commodity groups to meet: the South Carolina Corn and Soybean Association, the South Carolina Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association, South Carolina Crop Advisors, the South Carolina Cattlemen's Association, and the South Carolina Friends of Agriculture.

2004 South Carolina Ag Expo sponsors to date include the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, the South Carolina Corn and Soybean Association and Soybean Board, BASF, Monsanto, Garst Seed, Griffin, LLC, and the South Carolina Agricultural Council.

Walk up registration on the day of the two-day event is $50. Advance registration is encouraged at $35 and includes two lunches and a Tuesday evening reception in the exhibit hall.

For registration or exhibitor information, please contact Melanie Moulder, (803) 936-4409.