Farmers, agribusiness representatives and others interested in agriculture in the Mid-South should plan on attending the South's largest indoor farm show next month — the 52nd annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Supply Exhibit, is scheduled for Feb. 27-28 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The show — the largest in the event's history — will feature approximately, 400 exhibitors from 36 states and two foreign countries, occupying over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Memphis Cook Convention Center, according to Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and show manager. The event is sponsored by SCGA, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

An expanded number of farm equipment manufacturers, specialized services, the latest in seed varieties and new technologies in precision farming software and services will be available in the exhibit hall, providing an educational and entertaining experience, Price says.

Visitors who visit all the exhibit areas are eligible for prize giveaways to be awarded each afternoon — a total of $2,000 in attendance prizes will be given away daily. Drawings will be at noon ($500), 2 p.m. ($500), and 4 p.m. ($1,000).

“Our show is well-known as the largest assembly of agricultural products, equipment, and services in the South. Attending the Farm and Gin Show is a spring tradition for thousands of Mid-South farmers, ginners, and others involved in agriculture,” Price says. This year's show will offer the latest technology, the newest equipment and the most up-to-date information available to get farmers ready for the 2004 production season, he says.

“We're always working hard to provide something new and different each year. for those who attend the show,” says Price. “Because of the larger increased exhibit space available to us, the show will have a large number of new exhibitors and our traditional exhibitors have expanded their exhibit space from previous years.

“Many aspects of the show will be quite different from any show in the past, Price says, and we urge everyone, regardless of how recently they have attended the show, to come and experience this one.” And because of the increased size of the show, attendees are advised “to come early, wear comfortable shoes, and spend the day seeing and learning the latest trends and news affecting all of agriculture.”

Every year, the show features the increasingly popular Ag-Update Seminars on Friday and Saturday mornings, starting at 8:30.

“This year's Ag Update programs are specifically directed to provide the latest outlook for commodities, discuss current agricultural concerns, and explore new opportunities and information that is critical for agricultural producers and agribusinesses,” Price says.

Scheduled speakers for Friday morning are William “Billy” Dunavant, CEO of Dunavant Enterprises in, Memphis; Richard Bell, president and chief executive officer of Riceland Foods Inc., Stuttgart, Ark.; and Woody Anderson, the newly elected chairman of the National Cotton Council.

Dunavant, the world's largest cotton merchant, will offer insight on the domestic and foreign cotton supply and market outlook; Bell will address the market outlook for grain crops in the Mid-South; and Anderson will provide the latest information on agricultural policy and political situations affecting agriculture.

Saturday morning's program will include introductory comments from USDA Undersecretary Bill Hawks and a special panel to address key issues affecting Mid-South agriculture. Gary Adams, National Cotton Council economist, will discuss current and upcoming trade and farm policy issues that are critical to the United States cotton industry. Brian Jennings with the American Coalition for Ethanol will give examples of farmer and farm cooperative successes in ethanol production and the outlook for this industry in the future.

Rounding out the morning's program will be the presentation by Congressmen Chip Pickering, member of the Agriculture and Energy and Commerce committees, on key congressional issues.

A special door prize of $250 will be given away Saturday morning at the conclusion of the Ag Update program. To be eligible to win, you must be present for the 8:30 a.m. beginning of the program.