More than 450 exhibits, featuring the latest in equipment, products, and services await you at the 61st Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, which begins today (Friday, March 1) at the downtown Cook Convention Center in Memphis.

The show opens today at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“This is our biggest show ever,” says Tim Price, show manager and executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, which sponsors the event. Delta Farm Press is co-sponsor.

“We have an outstanding array of exhibits, plus our information-packed Ag Update seminars and special educational seminars. Each year, our show offers farmers from the Mid-South and other areas an opportunity for an up-close look at the latest offerings from agribusiness and to talk with representatives one-on-one. It’s also a time to get together with family and friends for an enjoyable weekend in Memphis.

You can still pre-register online at www.farmandginshow.com, making it easier to obtain your badge and move quickly into the show. Simply click on the “Attendee Registration” button on the website, complete the information, print out the bar code and bring it with you to the show to get your name badge printed. Show staff will also be on hand to assist with on-site registration.

There is no admission for the show, but a badge is required to enter the exhibit areas. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Ag Update sessions today and Saturday will focus on marketing, legislation, and other issues, and both days will feature special seminars on topics of interest to growers.

“There are many issues farmers face each year, from production and marketing, to legislation,” Price says Tim. “The show gives us the opportunity to bring together experts in these areas and provide farmers critical information about the challenges they will face.”

The Ag Update seminars Friday and Saturday will begin at 8:30 a.m. 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. The new president of the National Cotton Council, James F. “Jimmy” Dodson of Robstown, Texas, will provide an update on cotton issues; Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, Stuttgart, Ark., will give the market outlook for rice; and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton, Memphis, Tenn., present the cotton outlook.

For the Saturday morning Ag Update seminar, Richard Brock, Brock Associates, Milwaukee, Wisc., will provide his unique insight and analysis of grain markets and offer marketing recommendations for the coming year, along with insight into the political environment and the farm bill and its impact on agriculture.

Both days of the show, there will be special educational exhibits by Mid-South Land Grant universities, Extension Services, and state agencies. These are located on the mezzanine level of the convention center and will offer information on biofuels, biotechnology, and other innovative research topics.

At 1:15 p.m. Friday, on the mezzanine level, there will be a special education seminar on irrigation technology. “Irrigation is one of the most important aspects of modern crop production,” Price says, “and speakers will offer information on minimizing our precious water resources while maximizing production.”

Speakers will be Darrin Dodds, assistant Extension professor, and Jason Krutz, associate Extension/research professor, both at Mississippi State University, and other Mid-South specialists.

At 2:30 p.m. Friday, also on the mezzanine level, there will be a rice marketing seminar. “This will include information on rice pricing in the Delta and other factors such as climate trends, water, and world markets that influence rice production,” Price says.

The speaker will be Milo Hamilton, Firstgrain Inc. co-founder and senior agricultural economist.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, there will be special exhibitor seminars on the mezzanine level. Information on these seminars, and other events connected to the show will be available through the Farm and Gin Show mobile app, which can be downloaded to smart phones and other mobile devices.

The app features show schedules and updates, as well as maps and exhibitor information — all designed to enhance the showgoing experience.

The 2011 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show featured one of the first mobile apps available for farm shows, and was very popular, Price says. “We’ve continued to improve the app and make it even more useful and functional.”

For more information about the show, seminars, and related events, visit the website at www.farmandginshow.com, or the show’s Facebook page at facebook.com/farmandginshow.