It’s show time! This weekend, Feb. 28-March 1, some 20,000 visitors will converge on the downtown Memphis Cook Convention Center to take in an extensive array of products and services at the 62nd Mid-South Farm and Gin Show.

The event, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, will include innovative technology, interactive exhibits, educational/marketing seminars, and numerous valuable giveaways — including the perennial favorite, Labrador puppies.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the show and all seminars is free, but a badge is required to enter the exhibit areas. Advance registration may be done online at www.farmandginshow.com — click on the Attendee Registration button, fill out and print the form, and bring it to the show to quickly obtain a badge.

“Farmers are facing many issues as they go into the 2014 crop year,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president and show manager. “The new farm bill will entail many changes, and there are the usual challenges related to production and marketing. The show brings together experts in all these areas to provide farmers crucial information on these important topics.”

Ag Update seminars are scheduled for Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30 in the lobby meeting room. Friday’s session will feature industry updates, supply/demand outlooks for rice, wheat, and cotton, and market outlooks for all major Mid-South crops.

   Related: Outlook seminars highlight Mid-South Farm and Gin Show

Speakers will include the new president of the National Cotton Council, Wally Darnielle, president and CEO of Plains Cotton Growers, Lubbock, Texas. Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, Stuttgart, Ark., and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton, Memphis, Tenn., will present market outlooks for rice and cotton.

The Saturday Ag Outlook session will feature Richard Brock, Brock Associates, Milwaukee, Wisc., who will provide his unique insight and analysis of grain markets and offer marketing recommendations for the coming year. “And, given the situation in Washington,” Price says, “he will also have comments about the political environment, the farm bill, and their impact on agriculture.

“We’ve been through some rather volatile years in the marketplace,” Price says, “and now, in some instances, we’re looking at the possibility of lower commodity prices. These sessions will give farmers up-to-the-minute information about what’s in store for agriculture.”

Special seminars

In addition to the Ag Outlook sessions, there will be special seminars each day of the show. They include:

Friday, Feb. 28, 1:30 p.m. — Mid-South Ag Forum, convention center mezzanine level: This special seminar will feature representatives from Mid-South universities who will address critical issues facing Mid-South agriculture, including:

• Improving efficiency and profitability through irrigation

• Neonicotinoid insecticides:  Cropping systems, honey bees, and public perception

• Use requirements with Roundup Ready Xtend and Enlist Weed Control Systems

• Fungicide resistant frogeye leaf spot:  Management options

• Economic Considerations for On-Farm Grain Storage

Speakers include Jason Krutz, Mississippi State University; Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee; Tom Barber, University of Arkansas, and other university experts and representatives.

Saturday, March 1, 1:30 p.m., Rice Marketing Seminar: “The U.S. rice farmer's world is about to become a lot larger.” Speaker: Milo Hamilton, Firstgrain, Inc., co-founder and senior agricultural economist. Hamilton is author of the book, “When Rice Shakes the World,” which outlines “a better and brighter way” for rice markets and rice farmers globally.

“We are honored to have Milo Hamilton return to the show to talk with farmers about the future of rice for the Mid-South and for the world,” Price says. “We encourage anyone with an interest in the topic to attend this session.”

Also at 1:30 pm. Saturday, there will be an informational seminar, “Peanuts in the Mid-South.”

“Farmers in the region continue to have interest in peanut production,” Price says. “Those attending this seminar can hear presentations about options and benefits of growing peanuts in the Mid-South, marketing options, and potential agronomic challenges associated with peanut production.”

Farm and Gin Show app

Farm and Gin Show App: To make it easier to get around the show, to quickly locate exhibits, see maps of exhibit areas, and a host of other useful information, attendees can download the Farm and Gin Show Show app.

“This mobile application features enhanced information about the show, including show schedules and updates, speaker biographies, and information about Memphis points of interest, all designed to enhance the attendee experience,” Price says.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or the Android Store, or the QR code can be scanned at various locations in the show.

   Related: Mid-South Farm & Gin Show App for 2014

Prior to the show, Thursday, Feb. 27, the SCGA will hold its annual meeting and honors banquet, recognizing Ginner of the Year Richard Kelley, Burlison Gin, Burlison, Tenn.

Also at the banquet, the SCGA Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in honor of the late Gaylon Lawrence Sr., Arkansas farmer/ginner/entrepreneur, and the A. L. Vandergriff Award, honoring industry pioneers, will be presented to Memphis cotton merchant Billy Dunavant.

At the annual meeting, to be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Venetian Room of the Peabody Hotel, speakers will include Dwayne Alford, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association; Dr. Gary Adams, National Cotton Council vice president of economics and policy analysis, who will discuss the new farm bill and factors impacting cotton acreage in the Mid-South; Dr. Ed Barnes, senior director of agricultural and environmental research at Cotton Incorporated, who will discuss precision farming, the importance of cotton varietal issues, and production efficiency; and Dr. Tommy Valco, USDA/ARS, Stoneville, Miss., who will discuss gin research, value and efficiency essentials.

Anyone interested in these topics is welcome to attend the meeting.