The time to win a battle is before it starts. With this in mind, Mid-South farmers can draw a bead on the challenges for the 2005 growing season — from Asian rust to price outlooks — at the sixth annual Market Outlook Conference, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the Venetian Room of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

The conference will begin with Caruthersville, Mo., farmer and crop insurance agent Michael Bernard’s discussion of 2005 crop insurance changes and opportunities. That will be followed by an overview of the general ag economy from Gregory Allen Ibendahl, assistant Extension professor, ag economics, Mississippi State University.

Gabe Sciumbato, plant pathologist at the Stoneville Research Center, Stoneville, Miss., will discuss Asian soybean rust — its potential impact and how producers can live with it. Brent Crossland, U.S. marketing manager, Certified FiberMax, will discuss opportunities for high quality cotton.

After lunch and comments from O.A. Cleveland, cotton marketing specialist, professor emeritus, Mississippi State University, Alan Brugler, president, Brugler Marketing and Management, LLC, Omaha, Neb., will provide a grain and oilseed outlook.

The conference will conclude with a cotton outlook from Joe Nicosia, CEO, Allenberg Cotton, Cordova, Tenn.

The event is sponsored by the Ag Market Network, Certified FiberMax and Cotton Incorporated.

For a delayed broadcast of the meeting, go to www.msfb.com. To register or for more information, call Pat McClatchy at 888-795-8071.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com