As you're marking off events on your brand new 2006 calendar, be sure to highlight March 3-4 for attending the 54th annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show at Memphis.

The event, which will give growers an opportunity to see firsthand the latest equipment, products, and services, will be held at the downtown Cook Convention Center.

And, says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the annual event, the '06 show is expected to be a sellout, with more than 450 exhibits.

The show is co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press.

In addition to offering growers and ginners a firsthand look at a broad array of new ag products and technologies, program sessions will also focus on two topics of major interest: cottonseed and energy.

“There is a great deal of concern about trends in cottonseed usage and price,” says Price. “At our association's annual meeting March 2, we'll have experts on hand to discuss cottonseed concerns.” That meeting will be at the Peabody Hotel Thursday afternoon.

At 1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at the convention center, there will be a special seminar on energy.

“Escalating energy prices have had a major impact on every sector of agriculture,” Price says. “Gins have been affected by the huge increase in natural gas and electricity rates. The natural gas situation has also has a major impact on farmers, since gas is the key feedstock for nitrogen fertilizers.”

Price says a number of specialists will be on hand to discuss the energy situation and what producers may expect as they plan for the coming season, and there will be an opportunity for one-on-one dialogue.

The Saturday afternoon special seminar, inaugurated at last year's show, provides another venue for getting critical information to producers and ginners, Price says. “Our seminar on Asian soybean rust last year was extremely well-received, and we're expecting a lot of interest in this year's energy seminar.”

In addition to the special energy seminar, show attendees will have access to a broad range of additional information in the annual Ag Update sessions held Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30.

These will include Friday sessions on market outlooks for cotton, soybeans, and cash grains by leading industry specialists, and Saturday sessions on legislation, politics, and other key issues.

“We feel the Ag Update programs and the energy seminar will offer a forum for issues of key importance to farmers this year,” Price says.

This year's show will have exhibits running the gamut from the latest equipment, to seed, chemicals, and services.

“We've had a tremendous amount of interest by exhibitors and all our showrooms will be filled with companies offering a wide range of products and services.

“Since our show comes just before the start of the new season, the show will offer growers an opportunity to interact with industry suppliers and to get the latest information for use in making key crop management decisions.

“We have many new exhibitors, bringing a new array of products,” Price says, “and a lot of our every-year exhibitors are increasing their space, so it's going to be a very diverse show spanning all the major Mid-South crops.

“While we're proud of the cotton and ginning heritage of the show, it has evolved over the years into a stage for exhibitors representing all of our crops. We believe it is the premier indoor farm show in the South.”

“Memphis is a fun place for the entire family to spend a weekend,” Price says, “and we hope everyone will plan to come and be a part of this year's big show.”

Coinciding with the show is the annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and its member associations from Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas-Missouri, and a number of ginner events are held during the week of the show.