The Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, which opens Friday at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, continues to be the pre-season place for producers to get the latest information on production and management, see the newest equipment and products, and interact one-on-one with hundreds of experts in dozens of agricultural disciplines.

A sellout of exhibit space for the 2010 show “is an indication of the industry’s optimism for agriculture’s strength and vitality,” says Tim Price, show manager.

“All our space in the traditional showroom areas is filled, and we’re working to try and open up additional exhibit areas,” he says of the 58th annual show Friday/Saturday, Feb. 26-27.

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

“After all the problems producers faced during the 2009 season, more than ever before they’re looking for answers and new ideas for better coping with adversities,” Price says.

“In the seven years I’ve been associated with the show, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many applications for space to exhibit new products and services — yet another indication of how this industry rises to challenges by developing solutions for farmers’ needs.”

A topic of major interest at this year’s show will be a seminar on weed resistance, to be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26.

“This is clearly an issue that has far-reaching implications for our growers, agronomically, economically, and from a conservation tillage standpoint,” Price says. “We’ll have specialists from the Mid-South states on hand to present the latest information, and we are going to compile a list of exhibitors offering products and services related to weed resistance, so farmers can have an opportunity to talk with them further while at the show.”

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will lead a discussion of political and legislative issues.

“It’s an honor for us to have the senator join us,” Price says, “and we urge everyone to plan on attending this session.”

Admission is free, but registration is required for admittance to the show areas.

Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The informational Ag Update seminars to be held Friday and Saturday will include outlook sessions for cotton and grains, along with comments from industry officials.

Headliner speakers for the 8:30 a.m. Friday seminar will be Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton Co.

At the Saturday 8:30 a.m. session, Richard Brock, Brock and Associates, will present his in-depth seminar on grain marketing.

The member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 25, with informational sessions and other events, including its annual banquet, at which Ginner of the Year Kevin Watts, McGehee Producers Gin, McGehee, Ark., will be recognized, and the late Duke Shackelford, Jones, La., producer/ginner, will be honored with an SCGA memorial scholarship for the Gin Management Technology Program at Mississippi State University.

The SCGA annual meeting, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Peabody Hotel’s Venetian Room, will include an annual update on association and foundation activities, along with presentations by industry representatives, university researchers, and others.

Speakers include Kirk Gilkey, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association; Paul Scruggs, location manager, Cottonseed Trading Group/Lansing Trade Group, who will discuss “The Changing World of Cottonseed Marketing”; Matthew Fannin, assistant professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, Louisiana State University, who will discuss “Mid-South Ginning Infrastructure”; Pete Nelson, director of the AgBioworks program for the Memphis BioWorks Foundation, who will discuss “The Mid-South Potential for Biotechnology”; Tommy Valco, cotton technology transfer and education coordinator, Office of Technology Transfer, USDA-ARS, Stoneville, Miss., who will discuss ginning research; and Paul Funk, USDA Southwestern Cotton Ginning Laboratory, who will discuss “Gin Energy Use.”

All association members are encouraged to invite their farmers and stockholders to attend the meeting, Price says.

“This is an opportunity for our members to get updates on critical issues in our industry and to hear from professionals working on critical ginning industry research and the potential for Mid-South agriculture in emerging industries.”

For more information about the show, contact the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at 901-947-3104 or visit their Web site, farmandginshow.com.