New to this year's Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will be special seminars on cotton marketing and challenges and potential in biofuels.

The annual event, the largest indoor farm show in the South and the largest cotton trade show in the nation, will be held at the downtown Memphis Cook Convention Center March 2-3.

It is sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

“These seminars will focus on two areas of keen interest for farmers — cotton marketing and energy from crops,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the ginner organization and show manager.

“We're pleased to have Mike Stevens, Mandeville, La., cotton specialist for the commodity division of Swiss Financial Services and a cotton broker for nearly 40 years, to conduct the seminar on cotton marketing strategies.

“He's an excellent teacher and can help farmers to better understand markets and how they relate to farm-level marketing.”

Steven's seminar will be at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 2.

The seminar on the outlook, challenges, and potential for energy from agriculture will be Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m.

“Congressman Mike Ross, Ark.-D, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will discuss legislation he is sponsoring and the overall outlook for biofuels as the nation moves toward greater production of alternative energies,” Price notes.

Joining him will be James K. Allwood, senior vice president and leader of Informa Economics Energy Services, a Memphis firm that provides comprehensive commodity consulting and risk management services in energy and renewable fuels.

Representatives of state agencies, energy distribution companies, and farmers will also participate.

Other informational discussions in the annual Ag Update sessions that are part of the show will include:

Friday, March 2, 8:30 a.m. — A discussion of cotton issues and legislation by John Pucheu, Arizona producer and the new chairman of the National Cotton Council; the outlook for rice by Carl Brothers, senior vice president of Riceland Foods; and the market outlook for U.S. and world cotton by Joe Nicosia, CEO of Allenberg Cotton Co.

Saturday, March 3, 8:30 a.m. — Richard Brock, president of Brock Associates, will conduct a session on the grains market outlook, marketing strategies, and projections for 2007.

“With the special seminars and the Ag Update sessions, Mid-South growers will have an opportunity to get the latest information on these hot-button issues,” Price says.

This year's show will feature more than 400 exhibits in more than 200,000 square feet of convention center space.

“I don't think I've seen such a large array of new products as will be featured at this year's show,” Price says. Topping the list will be the much-awaited display of the production model of Case IH's new cotton picker with an onboard module builder.

Admission to the show and the seminars are free, but registration is required for admittance to the exhibit halls.

In addition to the seminars and Ag Update sessions, the annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, to be held Thursday, March 1, at 1:30 p.m., at the Peabody Hotel, will feature discussions on cotton quality and cottonseed issues.

Speakers will include Van Murphy, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association; Vikki Martin, associate director of fiber quality for Cotton Incorporated; Tommy Valco, Agricultural Research Service director of Cotton Technology Transfer and Education; Richard Byler, research leader of USDA's Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory at Stoneville, Miss.; and Nashville, Tenn., attorney John W. Lewis, will discuss legal issues related to cottonseed.

Anyone interested in hearing these discussions is welcome to attend.

Further information on the show may be obtained at the association's Web site: http://www.southerncottonginners.org.