In addition to getting a firsthand, up-close look at the cornucopia of new ag equipment, products, and services available for 2009, farmers attending the 57th annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will have access to a wealth of useful information going into the new cropping season.

The event, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, will be held Feb. 27-28 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

“Our show has always been something of an information supermarket for farmers on the cusp of a new season,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president and show manager, “but this year we’ve added an entire new layer of educational exhibits that will offer even more value to those attending.”

Highlighting major advances in equipment will be the display of both the John Deere and Case IH pickers with on-board module builders, as well as unwrapping equipment for the plastic-covered round bales produced by the Deere machine.

Both machines have generated wide interest in the cotton industry for the increased efficiency and labor-saving advantages they offer.

“In addition to the latest models from the mainline cotton equipment manufacturers, we’ll have a new rice combine, and an extensive range of machinery, new crop protection materials, new seed technologies, and other input innovations for all major Mid-South crops, as well as peanuts.”

Price says there are nearly 50 brand new exhibitors at this year’s show, further broadening the list of products, services, and emerging technologies available in one location.

Informational and educational opportunities abound, starting with the Ag Update Seminar Friday, Feb. 27, at 8:30.

Speakers will be Louisiana producer Jay Hardwick, National Cotton Council chairman, who will discuss issues confronting the cotton sector; Carl Brothers, senior vice president of Riceland Foods, who will present the outlook for rice and wheat; and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton Co. CEO, who will discuss the outlook for U.S. and world cotton.

Saturday morning at 8:30, Richard Brock returns with his seminar on grain markets. “Richard’s incisive presentations on marketing always attract a huge crowd,” Price says. “In a critical year such as this, when farmers are confronted by major changes and many uncertainties, we’re pleased to have him back to offer his unique insight into market events.”

New this year, throughout both days of the show in the south hall and on the mezzanine level, will be special educational exhibits by Mid-South land grant universities, Extension, and state agencies.

“These will include the latest research on biofuels, biotechnology, an interactive ATV safety demonstration, and free skin care screening,” Price notes.

Also at the show will be Monsanto’s Mobile Technology Unit, a custom-made 18-wheeler that can run on biofuels and is touring throughout the United States, showcasing innovations in plant breeding and biotechnology to support farmer success.

As if all this weren’t enough to keep everyone busy during the two days of the show, Price notes that special meeting areas will be available for farmer-to-farmer discussions and meetings with the hundreds of experts attending the show.

“Add to that thousands of dollars in door prizes, chances to win Labrador puppies, and some good eating, and it’s a can’t-miss event for the entire family,” Price says.