The Mid-South Farm & Gin Show has always been the place to see all that's new in the agricultural sector, and after the sweeping changes that occurred in crops and markets in 2007, this year's show will be even more important to farmers as they plan for the coming season.

“Agriculture is in the most fluid and dynamic cropping situation we've seen in many years, and farmers are looking for tools and information that let them quickly adjust and adapt to these changes,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, sponsor of the 56th annual event, to be held Feb. 29-March 1 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tenn.

“So many things are up in the air as we go into the 2008 crop year. One of the biggest challenges farmers will face will be the cost of energy and its impact on the entire spectrum of input costs — fertilizer, transportation, irrigation, water availability, etc.

“By attending our show, farmers will be able to see firsthand what manufacturers and suppliers are offering to help them be more efficient and productive, and our Ag Update sessions and special information seminars will have an impressive lineup of speakers to address these key issues and concerns.”

Technology's impact on farming will be even more evident at this year's show, as agriculture moves rapidly toward development of systems that save time and labor, such as the new cotton harvesters with on-board module builders, and widespread adaptation of global positioning system (GPS) technology that allows precision application of inputs, auto-steering, and other advancements.

More than 400 exhibitors, from almost every state and several worldwide locations, will be participating in this year's show, which is co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press.

“I don't think we've ever had as many new products and services as we have committed for participation this year,” says Price.

“Each year we welcome new and different attractions. Those who attend will get the season's first look at a wide array of the latest equipment, inputs, services and new technologies, all of which are designed for today's progressive farm and agribusiness operations.”

The event, the largest indoor farm show in the South, is a must-attend event for farmers, ginners, and others involved in agriculture, Price says, with more than 20,000 decision-makers coming each year.

The popular Ag Update Seminars will be featured Friday and Saturday mornings, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The Friday session will include the outlook for cotton and rice. Billy Guthrie, SCGA president, will preside over the meeting and scheduled speakers are Larry McClendon, incoming chairman of the National Cotton Council; Carl Brothers, senior vice president, Riceland Foods; and Joe Nicosia, CEO, Allenberg Cotton Co.

For the Saturday Ag Update session, Richard Brock, president, Brock Associates, will provide the grain marketing outlook, along with marketing strategies and projections for the coming year, and his insights into agriculture legislation.

Saturday at 1 p.m., a special seminar, “What a Difference a Year Makes: Energy and Agriculture,” will examine the challenges and potential for growth in the next decade as the focus continues on agriculture's role in energy security.

“The relationship between agriculture and energy is multi-dimensional and increasingly a challenge,” Price says. “Farmers are affected on many levels — from the higher costs of fertilizer and for moving and delivering product, to the heightened demand for crops as a source for energy production,” Price said. “This seminar will help farmers and agribusinesses evaluate the changing dynamics of this relationship and future implications.”

“Just two years ago, the headlines were about plummeting wheat acreage; now, that situation has totally reversed. A lot of issues came to a head last year — barge availability and other transportation concerns; agriculture's share of water resources, etc.

“There has been a lot of sorting-out as farmers look for ways to adapt to changing production and market dynamics.”

Exhibit hours for the show are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Visitors who view the exhibit areas are eligible for prizes, which will be awarded each afternoon, including $2,000 in attendance prizes awarded daily.

For additional information, contact Price at (901) 947-3104 or visit the Web site www.southerncottonginners.org and click on Farm & Gin Show.