When the doors open for the 62nd Mid-South Farm and Gin Show on February 28, attendees will find the products and information they’ve come to count on from the annual event. But, they may also find more than they expect this year.
“As we look to the 2014 show, we continue to try to provide exhibits that fit what our farmers need,” said Tim Price, show manager with the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. “There’s a lot of new equipment and products from both long-time exhibitors and new companies alike.”
The Mid-South’s largest farm show will fill the Cook Convention Center in Memphis on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1. Once again, the show is filled to capacity, with more than 400 exhibitors representing nearly every aspect of Mid-South agriculture. Attendance of 15,000 to 18,000 visitors is projected for this year’s event, including representatives from several foreign countries.
“It’s a big showcase,” pointed out Price. “It’s a great learning experience and forum for farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-agribusiness exchange. Over the years, this show has become an incubator for new ideas and change to existing systems. But it’s also a showcase for how farmers in our area adapt to new technology.”
Visitors can expect to see the latest equipment, seed and production technologies on display. For the first time, the show will include unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones – among the exhibits, with one scheduled to be given away before the show closes on March 1.
And speaking of giveaways, the popular drawings for Labrador puppies will be held at 3:00 p.m. each afternoon.
In addition to the products and equipment (and puppies), the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show has also become an important source of the market information growers seek as they wrap up their cropping plans for the new season.
“I don’t know when we’ve been so close to show time with so many planting decisions yet to make,” said Price. “Decisions are still fluid between different crops. That’s one of the reasons we insist on having good, up-to-date ag updates.
“It’s more than just listening to speakers. It’s also farmer-to-farmer interaction, and a lot of people come just to reaffirm or make decisions.”
The update seminars begin each morning at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby meeting room. The Friday morning session will again feature a cotton market outlook by Joe Nicosia of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, an outlook on rice and wheat by Carl Brothers of Riceland Foods, and an update on cotton policy and legislation by Wally Darneille, newly-elected chairman of the National Cotton Council.
On Saturday morning, Richard Brock, president of Brock Associates, returns to present his popular session on grain and commodity marketing and politics.
New for this year’s show is the Mid-South Ag Forum, a series of sessions on Friday afternoon that will focus on relevant topics and research impacting the five Mid-South states, including irrigation efficiency, new herbicide systems, disease management, and on-farm storage. Marketing seminars focusing on both rice and peanuts are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
The 2014 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on February 28, and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 1.
Online registration for the show is now available. Click the Attendee Registration link on the left side of the home page and follow the instructions to complete your form and print your confirmation. Bring the printed confirmation to the show and check in at the pre-registration kiosk to print your name badge – and avoid long registration lines.
The show website also includes access for downloading the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show app to smartphones. The app provides program and exhibitor information and is an easy guide for navigating the show.
These features were designed to make the show experience simpler and easier for attendees. But Price understands the real value of the event.
“I think folks want to come for a reality check regarding new products and technology, what’s going on globally, and how that might impact their own planting and harvesting.”