The changes and challenges in agriculture the past few years have made farmers more aware than ever of the need to develop long-term strategies.

And one of the best places to get insight into where agriculture’s going is at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, scheduled for Feb. 26-27 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.

The event, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, will have more than 400 exhibits featuring a broad range of equipment, products, and services.

“In the last three years, Mid-South farmers have had to deal with enormous changes and challenges,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president and show manager. In today’s turbulent economic environment, with enormous competitive challenges, growers are doing a lot of soul-searching about the sustainability of their operations, and they’re looking at products, services, and knowledge that will help them become better managers, control costs, boost yields, and improve quality to enable them to survive for the long term.

“The ag industry has really responded to this need by offering products and services that provide solutions for growers — and it’s not just in the ongoing array of new technology, but also evaluating older products that may fill a need in dealing with problems such as weed resistance. There is a lot of broad-based, clear-headed thinking by companies wanting to show farmers value in their products — not just to improve production, but to help them be better managers for the long term.”

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, which is a sell-out, Price says. “In the seven years I’ve been associated with the show, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many applications for space to exhibit products and services — yet another indication of how this industry rises to challenges by developing solutions for farmers’ needs.”

A topic of major interest at this year’s show will be a seminar on weed resistance, to be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26. “This is clearly an issue that has far-reaching implications for our growers, agronomically, economically, and from a conservation tillage standpoint,” Price says. “We’ll have specialists from the Mid-South states on hand to present the latest information, and we are going to compile a list of exhibitors offering products and services related to weed resistance, so farmers can have an opportunity to talk with them further while at the show.”

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will lead a discussion of political and legislative issues. “It’s an honor for us to have the senator join us,” Price says, “and we urge everyone to plan on attending this session.”

Admission is free, but registration is required for admittance to the show areas. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The informational Ag Update seminars to be held Friday and Saturday will include outlook sessions for cotton and grains, along with comments from industry officials. Headliner speakers for the 8:30 a.m. Friday seminar will be Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton Co. At the Saturday 8:30 a.m. session, Richard Brock, Brock and Associates, will present his in-depth seminar on grain marketing.

The member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting during the week of the show, with informational sessions and other events, including the annual banquet honoring the Ginner of the Year.

For more information about the show, contact the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at (901) 947-3104 or visit their Web site, http://www.farmandginshow.com.