When the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show debuted nearly 60 years ago, one of its key missions was to provide educational opportunities for farmers and others who would attend.

Although seminars and updates have been a mainstay of the show in the years since, Tim Price, show manager, says this year’s show will host a record number of educational offerings.

“There are so many issues — production, marketing, and legislative — that warrant in-depth attention, additional seminars seemed like the logical solution,” says Price, who is executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the show, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

“We’ll have more seminars and educational opportunities at this year’s show than ever before.”

The 59th annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show is scheduled for Feb. 25-26 at the downtown Cook Convention Center at Memphis.

New for this year’s show is a special session on “Top Concerns for Farmers,” featuring Brian Hefty, agronomist, farmer, and co-host of Ag PhD, the nation’s most-watched agronomy television program, which airs on RFD-TV. He is also an owner of Hefty Seed Company, which supplies crop inputs through 29 stores in seven states.

“We know Mid-South farmers will be interested in talking one-on-one with specialists like Brian Hefty, who have expertise on production issues. This seminar will provide that interaction,” Price says.

“We are also inviting farmers to submit questions/issues they want Hefty to address. He will compile those and speak to them at the seminar.”

Questions can be submitted via email: tim.price@southerncottonginners.org and andrea.steadman@southerncottonginners.org, or by posting a question on the Farm and Gin Show Facebook page. Hefty is sponsored by FarmLogic. The seminar will be held in the Steamboat Room, mezzanine Level, beginning at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25.

A special seminar focusing on managing herbicide-resistant weeds is also scheduled for Friday, at 3:30 p.m., and will be repeated Saturday, Feb. 26, at 1:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Steamboat Room, mezzanine level.

Ken Smith, University of Arkansas weed scientist, who will headline a panel of industry experts and university researchers, says farmers need to determine how to manage pests that “are here to stay.”

He and panelists Daniel Stephenson, weed science specialist at the LSU AgCenter, Jason Bond, rice weed management, Mississippi State University, and Larry Steckel, Extension weed specialist, University of Tennessee, will provide an update on the ever-expanding list of herbicide-resistant weeds and offer recommendations on management.

This is the second year for a seminar on herbicide-resistant weeds, Price notes. “This is proving to be one of the most challenging production issues facing farmers — what can be done to reduce the number of resistant weeds and how do we go about managing them? The panel of experts will address these issues.”

Ag Update Seminars are scheduled for Friday and Saturday mornings beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby meeting room. Friday’s session will feature industry updates, supply/demand outlooks for rice, wheat, and cotton, and market outlooks for all major Mid-South crops.

Charles Parker, Senath, Mo., president of the National Cotton Council, Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, Stuttgart, Ark., and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton, Memphis, will headline the Friday Ag Update seminar.

“Last year, we couldn’t have imagined we would be where we are today in terms of commodity prices across the board,” Price says. “Those attending Friday’s seminar will hear the latest information on the potential for Mid-South agriculture, as well as what’s in store for the industry as a whole.”

Saturday, Feb. 26, well-known market analyst Richard Brock, Brock Associates, Milwaukee, Wisc., will provide an in-depth analysis of grain markets and offer marketing recommendations for the coming year.

Brock says 2011 may best the profitability opportunities of 2010. Increased Chinese purchases of corn and soybeans, coupled with the huge infusion of speculative money into the commodity markets, are key drivers in the bullish outlook for 2011, he says.

“If past years are any indication, this session will be standing room only,” Price says. “This seminar goes beyond a high-level overview. Brock jumps head first into what’s driving the markets and tells people how to weather volatility and uncertainty. He knows the markets and makes solid recommendations that enables growers to take advantage of opportunities.”

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 25, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 26. More information about the seminars and show is available at Farm & Gin Show or at the show’s Facebook page.