An in-depth look at energy costs and their impact on farming operations will be a feature of the 56th annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, to be held Feb. 29-March 1 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Among speakers at the 1:30 p.m. seminar Saturday, March 1, will be H. W. “Kip” Butts, senior analyst for Informa Economics at Memphis, and Tommy Foltz, president of Foltz Company at Little Rock.

“Kip Butts has seen firsthand the impact of energy on crop competitiveness, from production through processing and to the final destination, including the critical importance of transportation linkages and costs,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, which sponsors the annual event.

“Tommy Foltz is a 15-year veteran of the alternative energy industry, with perspectives ranging from government to private business. The cost of energy is something that affects every farm operation, and everyone should plan to attend this informative seminar,” Price says.

Representatives from government, research, energy, and the farm sector have been invited to participate.

This year’s show, which is co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press, will feature approximately 400 exhibitors from 48 states and five foreign countries and will occupy over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space in the convention center.

Two exhibits of prime interest to cotton producers will be the new pickers with on-board module builders from Case IH and John Deere. “This will be a great opportunity for producers to see firsthand what all the talk has been about for the past five years or so,” Price says. “The development of these new machines reflects the vision and confidence these companies have in the future of the cotton industry.”

The show is a perennial “must-attend” for farmers, ginners, and others, with more than 20,000 decision-makers coming each year. “It’s a tradition,” he says. “We’re excited about the number of new products — both from traditional exhibitors and those who are new to the show,” Price says.

Also of major interest at this year’s show, he notes, will be the newest precision ag technologies, new chemistries, seed, and a host of other products and services. “Biotechnology continues to have a major impact on our industry, as will be reflected in all the exhibits related to crop seeds, agrichemicals, and all the related products and services,” he says.

The show’s popular Ag Update Seminars, to be held Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30, will focus on the outlook for crops and legislation. Already slated to speak at the Friday session are Carl Brothers, senior vice president of Riceland Foods, and Joe Nicosia, chief executive officer of Allenberg Cotton Co., and Larry McClellan, incoming chairman of the National Cotton Council.

Richard Brock, president, Brock Associates, will conduct his popular grain marketing outlook seminar Saturday morning, offering strategies and projections for 2008. Brock will also discuss agriculture issues and bio-energy.

“It’s going to be a heckuva show,” Price says, “and we hope everyone will plan to bring the family for an informative, fun-packed weekend in Memphis.”

Exhibit areas at the show will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the show and Ag Update Seminars, members of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting during the week.

A complete schedule of all the events connected with the show will be made available later.

For additional information, contact the association at (901) 947-3104 or visit the Web site: www.southerncottonginners.org.