Ways to increase agricultural production while lowering costs will highlight the topics presented at the 11th annual National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference.

The conference will return to the Grand Casino Resort Convention Center at Tunica, Miss., Jan. 21-22, sponsored by Cotton Incorporated and US Rice Producers Association.

A production of MidAmerica Farm Publications, the event co-sponsored by the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, Auburn University, Texas A&M, USDA-NRCS in Washington, and USDA-ARS centers in the southern states.

Corporate co-sponsors are Delta and Pine Land, Helena Chemical Co., Horizon Ag, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., and RiceTec. Ag media co-sponsors are Delta Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

“This conference is unique in that it has 91 breakout sessions presented by 47 university and industrial researchers and 44 full-time farmers from the southern states,” says John LaRose, chairman of the conference steering committee. “The farmers bring something to this event that can’t be found at any other conference in the United States.

“The breakout sessions by the farmers will showcase the production systems used on their farms to profitably produce cotton, rice, and corn.”

New additions will be the Mid-South Corn Conference and Mid-South Precision Ag Conference to be held in conjunction with the main conference.

The corn conference will feature 16 corn production technology and systems breakout sessions by 16 of the nation’s leading corn researchers and farmers. The precision ag conference will feature breakout sessions by nine precision agriculture researchers and farmers.

“These farmers are innovators,” says LaRose. “Some are even ahead of the researchers — they’re innovative and have proven these techniques on large scale operations as well as small fields. They’ve taken the ideas that the researchers have developed and added innovative ideas of their own, integrating them into successful money- making farming operations.

“All this expertise will be available to those attending the Tunica conference,” LaRose says. “In addition to the breakout sessions, attendees can participate in one of the nine specially focused roundtable sessions featuring in-depth discussions where concerns will be addressed.”

The conference is “a must-attend event” for honing production methods related to trimming inputs while boosting yields, he notes.

“In recent years, farmers and their landlords have found that, beyond tillage, there are many other farming resources that can be conserved through properly designed conservation systems. The importance of conserving soil moisture and reducing fuel, labor, seed, chemical, and other input costs has been a key to economic survival for many farmers.

“The main emphasis of the conference is reducing production costs and increasing yields in cotton, rice, and corn through precision agriculture in its many forms,” says LaRose.

“Don’t pass up this perfect opportunity to get out and communicate with the presenters and others attending the conference. It’s not often you have the chance to learn from the experts — researchers and farmers who have made these new ideas work.”

For further information on the conference or to register, visit www.nctd.net or telephone Robin Moll at (573) 547-7212.