As has been the case with agriculture at large, the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show has been constantly evolving, from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s era of who-can-build-the-biggest-most-powerful tractor and many dozens of chemical companies to today’s technology-laden machinery (including, this year, a distributor of unmanned aircraft) and just a handful of major ag chemical companies, offering products that are target-specific and environmentally benign.
Invariably, folks at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show will ask how many years I’ve been attending the show. I never have an answer I feel is accurate. I don’t really remember year I first went, so I usually just laughingly say, “A long time.”
I do remember it was during the years that the late Bob Collins was heading the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, and it was at the Memphis Convention Center, which opened in 1974 … and that’s a lot of years ago. Lee Todd succeeded Bob and ran the association and show for many years until he retired (and grew a beard worthy of Sasquatch). I first met his successor, Tim Price, at the 2003 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Nashville, and worked with him on his first show in 2004, and all those since.
AG NEWS delivered daily to your inbox:Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily
There were a few years in the ‘70s that, for one reason or another, I was unable to attend, and I missed the show eight years ago due to a broken wrist from a fall on ice a few days prior. But collectively, I’d guess I’ve been there for at least 30 shows.
The show’s always a good time, despite the long hours and the toll walking and standing on those convention center concrete floors takes on feet and legs. At the end of a day, when the younger folks are eagerly heading out to eat or party on Beale Street, all I want to do is soak my aching bod in a hot tub.
There are folks I see year to year, most of them only at the show. Some, babies or toddlers when I first encountered them with their parents, are now teenagers or grownups with children of their own. Invariably — my wife having taught half the kids in the western hemisphere over her working career — I’ll cross paths with some of her former students, themselves now middle-aged and/or grandparents.
It’s always rewarding, and flattering, when folks I haven’t met stop me and tell me they read my weekly column (even those who’ve taken me to task via e-mail or phone).
As has been the case with agriculture at large, the show has been constantly evolving, from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s era of who-can-build-the-biggest-most-powerful tractor and many dozens of chemical companies to today’s technology-laden machinery (including, this year, a distributor of unmanned aircraft) and just a handful of major ag chemical companies, offering products that are target-specific and environmentally benign.
Originally primarily a cotton-oriented show, and still more familiarly known to every as “The Gin Show,” it now encompasses all Mid-South crops, giving producers an up close and personal look at what’s new as they head into another season.
Thanks to all who helped make this year’s show a success!