He says it every year — but it always proves to be true.

“We're going to have the best show ever,” Lee Todd predicts for the 2002 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, to be held at Memphis, Tenn. March 1-2.

But he has an added reason this year for that prediction: The show will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, and he's expecting the largest, most varied lineup of exhibits in its history.

With his usual hope for favorable weather (“rain just before the show is always nice, to keep farmers out of the fields for a couple of days”), he's also looking forward to having the biggest attendance ever.

Delta Farm Press will join the Southern Cotton Ginners Association in co-sponsoring the event at the downtown Cook Convention Center.

The exhibit is the largest indoor assembly of agricultural products and equipment in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation. More than 15,000 people usually attend the two-day event.

“We hope everyone's got the dates circled on their calendars,” says Todd, who is executive vice president of the ginner association and manager for the show, which will offer the latest technology, the newest equipment, and the most up-to-date information available to help farmers get ready for the new production season.

For the past half century, Todd says, the show has been a magnet for leading farmers, ginners, equipment manufacturers-distributors, chemical companies, and providers of a wide variety of services and products for all Mid-South crops.

“There's just one reason for the show's growth and success: It's one of the best ag exhibits in the country, and we intend to keep it that way. We put a lot of effort into improving the show each year. We want everyone to know that when they come to the show, they'll have one-on-one access to the very latest in agriculture.

“And we're very pleased to again have Delta Farm Press, the Mid-South's most influential and respected agricultural publication, as co-sponsor of the exhibit.”

Sledge Taylor, Como, Miss., president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, says, “The 2002 show looks like it will be another great one. Lee really does a great job for us in organizing and running the show, and we're really excited about the 50th anniversary celebration.”

In addition to the exhibits, the program includes several Ag Update Seminars, featuring leaders from various industry segments, who offer information on marketing, research, and other important topics.

The Friday, March 1 sessions will include Mississippi farmer/ginner Kenneth Hood, the new chairman of the National Cotton Council; Richard Bell, chief executive officer of Riceland Foods; and William Dunavant, chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, Inc.

Saturday, March 2, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, William Hawks, will speak, along with Roy Cantrell, the new agricultural research director for Cotton Incorporated, and Bruce Scherr, president and chief executive officer of the Sparks Companies.

At the same time all this is going on, the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and its member organizations will be holding their annual meetings. They include the Arkansas-Missouri Cotton Ginners Association, the Mississippi Cotton Ginners Association, the Tennessee Cotton Ginners Association, and the Louisiana Cotton Ginners Association.

Delta Farm Press, with more than half a century in the agricultural publishing business, reaches 28,000 farmers and agribusiness readers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and the Missouri Bootheel each week.

Delta Farm Press will publish the official program for the show, which will be distributed to all subscribers in the Feb. 15 issue and to the Alabama circulation of Feb. 13 Southeast Farm Press. The program will also be available to all show attendees.