Richard Brock, one of the nation's leading grain marketing analysts, will be a featured speaker at the 2005 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show.

The show, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, will be March 4-5 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.

Brock is widely known in the agricultural and agribusiness community through his weekly newsletter, The Brock Report, that focuses on grains, and the Pork Profit Edge, another newsletter his firm also publishes.

Brock Associates manages grain sales on over 500,000 acres throughout the United States and advises many major agribusiness and grain companies on price direction and purchasing strategies. In a normal year, he will speak at over 60 conferences throughout the United States, Central American, South America, and Europe.

He will speak Saturday morning, March 5, at the 8:30 a.m. Ag Update session in the convention center lobby auditorium.

“Richard has been analyzing and forecasting grain and other agricultural trends for many years and is well-respected by farmers throughout the nation,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the ginner association and manager of the show that attracts 20,000 people.

Also on the Saturday program will be Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board. “There is a lot of interest in bio-based fuels,” Price says, noting that several biodiesel and ethanol plants are in operation or on the drawing board around the Mid-South.”

Also expected to speak Saturday morning is USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, William Hawks, who will discuss USDA programs and issues.

In addition to speakers for the Friday and Saturday Ag Update sessions, the show's 400-plus exhibits will provide growers a firsthand look at new ag products and technologies.

It will also offer the latest information on one of 2005's hottest agricultural topics: soybean rust. A special seminar on the disease will be conducted by Monte Miles, USDA Agricultural Research plant physiologist at the University of Illinois, the nation's leading authority on the subject. He will lead a reaction panel, which will have participants ranging from growers and input providers through end users.”

Scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m., it will be co-sponsored by a number of Mid-South organizations, including the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, the Delta Council, state soybean associations, state soybean promotion boards, and others.

Ag update sessions

Here's the lineup for the informational sessions:

Friday, March 4 — Woods Eastland, president and chief executive officer of Staplcotn, the Greenwood, Miss., cotton marketing cooperative, and the 2005 chairman of the National Cotton Council, will discuss cotton sector issues.

J. Michael Hathorne, vice president and coordinator of economic analysis for Informa Economics, Memphis, will discuss the outlook for rice and wheat.

William Dunavant, chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, will provide his annual cotton market outlook.

Saturday, March 5 — William Hawks, USDA; Richard Brock, and Joe Jobe.

Hundreds of exhibits

This year's show, is shaping up to be another sellout for the 200,000 square foot convention center and the largest in the event's history. More than 450 exhibits are expected, Price says, running the gamut from the latest equipment, to seed, chemicals, and services. Exhibitors are from 40-plus states and two foreign countries.

“The show has become an early spring tradition for Mid-South farmers, ginners, and others involved in agriculture,” he says. “In addition to many exhibitors who are with us year-in and year-out, we have many who will be here for the first time, bringing a new array of products. 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.