It's just a week away, the big 2004 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. And with the dates Feb. 27-28 circled on your calendar, all that remains is to gather family and friends and head to Memphis to join in the fun.

Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and manager of the yearly event, promises “it's going to be a great show.”

More than 400 exhibitors will make it the largest show ever, filling all 200,000 square feet-plus of the downtown Cook Convention Center.

It is the largest indoor exhibition of agricultural products, equipment, and services in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation. More than 15,000 people attend the event each year. Admission is free.

The show will open at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and run until 5 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Delta Farm Press is co-sponsor of the show and publishes the official program.

“We believe we have the best lineup of exhibitors in the history of the show,” Price says. “Many companies will be with us for the first time; others will be expanding the size of their exhibits. We've got a complete sell-out of space.” Those attending the show will find a convention center packed full of new equipment, as manufacturers continue improving or expanding their product lines.

Most major seed and agrichemical companies will also be represented, as will firms offering a wide variety of ag-related products and services.

“Coming just prior to the start of the spring planting season, our show gives farmers an opportunity to meet first-hand with company representatives and to get the latest information on products and services,” Price says.

In addition to the big show, the popular Ag Update seminars will be held Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30 in the lobby auditorium of the convention center.

The Friday session will feature:

  • Woody Anderson, the new chairman of the National Cotton Council, who will present an update on the organization's activities,
  • Richard Bell, chief executive officer of Riceland Foods, with the outlook for rice and other grains.
  • William B. Dunavant, chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, who will give the cotton market outlook.

Saturday morning's session will have as its theme, “Growing Mid-South Agriculture: Critical Perspectives on Trade, New Uses, and Legislation.”

Following introductory remarks by Bill Hawks, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, speakers will be:

  • Gary Adams, vice president of economics and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council, who will discuss “Key Trade Issues and Cotton's Future.”
  • Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, who will discuss “Key Issues for Farmers and Bio-Based Energy Production.”
  • U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., a member of the Agriculture and Energy and Commerce Committees, who will discuss “Key Agriculture and Energy Issues Facing Congress.”

The member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meetings in conjunction with the show.

Speakers for the SCGA annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Peabody Hotel, will be:

  • Kenneth Hood, Mississippi farmer/ginner who is chairman of InTime, Inc. He will discuss new precision agriculture technology.
  • Sid Brough, Edroy, Texas, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

The SCGA honors banquet Thursday evening at the Peabody will recognize the Ginner of the Year, William E. Lindamood of Tiptonville, Tenn.

SCGA member associations are the Arkansas-Missouri Cotton Ginners Association, the Mississippi Cotton Ginners Association, the Tennessee Cotton Ginners Association, and the Louisiana Cotton Ginners Association.