Growers will get the latest information on rice and wheat marketing prospects at the 2005 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, to be held March 4-5 at Memphis.

The show, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, will be held at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.

J. Michael Hanthorn, vice president, Informa Economics at Memphis, is coordinator of crops economic analysis for the Sparks Companies at Memphis and market analyst for wheat and rice.

“We're pleased to have Michael give his insight into what may lie ahead for these key crops,” says Tim Price, show manager, and executive vice president of the ginner association.

Prior to joining Sparks, Hanthorn spent eight years with USDA's Economic Research Service in Washington, with responsibilities including the Situation and Outlook Report coordination for food grains, cross-commodity analyses and farm machinery, as well as farm program policy options.

He will speak Friday morning, March 4, at the 8:30 a.m. Ag Update session in the convention center lobby auditorium.

The show, which attracts 20,000 people, is shaping up to be another sellout for the 200,000-square-foot convention center and is expected to be the largest in the event's history.

More than 450 exhibits are expected, Price says, running the gamut from the latest equipment, to seed, chemicals and services. Exhibitors are from 40-plus states and two foreign countries.

“The show has become an early spring tradition for farmers, ginners and others involved in agriculture,” he says. “In addition to many exhibitors who are with us year-in and year-out, we have many who will be here for the first time, bringing a new array of products. And a lot of our every-year exhibitors are increasing their space, so it's going to be a very diverse show spanning all the major crops.

“While we're proud of the cotton and ginning heritage of the show, it has evolved over the years into a stage for exhibitors representing all of our crops. We believe it is the premier indoor farm show in the South.”

Ag Update sessions

Here's the complete lineup for the informational sessions:

Friday, March 4 — Woods Eastland, president and chief executive officer of Staplcotn, the Greenwood, Miss., cotton marketing cooperative, and the 2005 chairman of the National Cotton Council, will discuss cotton sector issues.

J. Michael Hathorne, vice president and coordinator of economic analysis for Informa Economics, Memphis, will discuss the outlook for rice and wheat.

William Dunavant, chief executive officer of Dunavant Enterprises, will provide his annual cotton market outlook.

Saturday, March 5 — William Hawks, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, will discuss USDA programs and issues.

Richard Brock, nationally-known grains marketing analyst and publisher of the Brock Report, will discuss the outlook for soybeans and corn. Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board, will discuss the outlook for bio-based fuels.

Soybean rust seminar

A special seminar on Asian soybean rust disease will be conducted by Monte Miles, USDA Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist at the University of Illinois, the nation's leading authority on the subject.

He will lead a reaction panel, which will have participants ranging from growers and input providers through end users.

Scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m., it will be co-sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, the Delta Council, state soybean associations, state soybean promotion boards and others.