Show features products, services From the latest in equipment, to seed, chemicals, and services, and other products, growers will find it in the hundreds of exhibits that make up the largest indoor farm show in the South, to be held at Memphis March 2-3.

As agriculture moves into the new millennium - with the promise of more exciting innovations in biotechnology, new chemicals, amazing electronic and satellite-based technologies, and ever-more sophisticated farm equipment - information will be one of the most important elements in a farming operation.

This year's show at the downtown Cook Convention Center will spotlight the region's agriculture in the midst of tremendous change, says Lee Todd, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and show manager. It will offer a broad array of information, from crop price outlooks to a chance to see firsthand the latest agricultural equipment, products, and services.

The show, co-sponsored by the ginners group and by Delta Farm Press, is the largest indoor exhibit of agricultural products, equipment, and services in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation. Several thousand people attend each year from the Mid-South, Southeast, and Southwest states.

"With our show taking place just before the new season gets under way, growers have a unique opportunity to obtain the latest information about everything that's important to them as they make decisions for the 2001 crop year that's just around the corner," Todd says.

Growers will have an opportunity to check out the more than 400 exhibits that make up the largest indoor farm show in the South.

"This marks our 49th year for the show," Todd says. "From its beginning, the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show has attracted leading farmers, ginners, and agribusiness companies for a simple reason: It's one of the best agricultural exhibits in the United States."

Also a big draw for attendees are the Ag Update Seminars, held Friday and Saturday mornings. These always result in a packed house, and this year is expected to be no different, as an outstanding panel discusses topics at the top of growers' hot lists.

Here's the lineup for this year's sessions:

Friday, March 2, 8:30 a.m. - John Maguire, legislative director for the National Cotton Council, Washington, D.C., will discuss the outlook for agriculture under the new administration and new Congress.

- Richard E. Bell, president and chief executive officer of Riceland Foods, Stuttgart, Ark., who will present his analysis of rice, soybean, and wheat markets.

- William "Billy" Dunavant, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, Memphis, will conclude the program with his annual assessment of what's happening in the cotton market in the U.S. and worldwide and what he sees in the cards for 2001 and beyond.

Saturday, March 3, 8:30 a.m. - Arkansas Representative Marion Berry will discuss the outlook for agricultural legislation and other issues of importance to farmers.

- Kenneth Hood, Mississippi producer/businessman, will discuss the economics and practical applications of precision farming technologies.

The doors for the big show open at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and close at 5 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

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.

At the group's annual meeting Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Venetian Room of the Peabody Hotel, Norma McDill, the new deputy administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service cotton program, will discuss the government cotton program.