A special seminar, “What a difference a year makes — energy and agriculture,” will be a highlight of this year's Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, to be held Feb. 29-March 1 at the Cook Convention Center, Memphis, Tenn.

The seminar will examine the challenges and potential for growth in the next decade as the emphasis on agriculture's role in energy security continues.

The nation's focus on alternative energy sources resulted in dramatic shifts in acreages and commodity markets last year — and farmers attending this year's show will have the opportunity to learn how these ongoing trends may affect their businesses.

“Farmers continue to adapt and change as they evaluate the impact of markets, energy demands, and other key influences,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, which sponsors the annual event, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

The show has been a must-attend event for years, with more than 20,000 decision-makers participating, but Price says this year's program roster has been beefed up “to give farmers the best, latest information available as they go into the new cropping season.”

And as always, they'll have two days to wander through more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, featuring the latest in equipment, inputs, and other products and services.

“Every year we welcome new and different attractions,” says Price, who is show manager. “We're excited about the number of new products - both from traditional exhibitors and those who are new to the show.”

Of major interest at this year's show, Price says, will be the opportunity for attendees to learn about the latest developments in cotton harvesters with on-board module builders, and the newest precision ag technologies, along with inputs and a host of other products and services.

“Biotechnology continues to have a major impact on our industry, as will be reflected in all the exhibits related to crop seeds, agrichemicals, and all the related products and services,” Price says.

“We're going to have the biggest lineup of new products in several years,” Price notes. “This will be a great chance to see everything firsthand and to talk face-to-face with representatives from the companies.”

The show's popular Ag Update Seminars, to be held Friday and Saturday mornings at 8:30, will focus on the outlook for crops and legislation. Already slated to speak at the Friday session are Carl Brothers, senior vice president of Riceland Foods, and Joe Nicosia, chief executive officer of Allenberg Cotton Co.

Richard Brock, president, Brock Associates, will conduct his popular grain marketing outlook seminar Saturday morning, offering strategies and projections for 2008. Brock will also discuss agriculture issues and bio-energy.

The show exhibit halls will open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Friday, with 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. hours Saturday. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required for admittance to the exhibit halls.

In addition to the show and Ag Update Seminars, members of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting during the week. A complete schedule of all the events connected with the show will be made available later.

“It's going to be a great show,” Price says, “and we hope everyone will mark their calendars and plan to bring the family for an informative, fun-packed weekend in Memphis.”

Additional information on the show is available at southerncottonginners.org, or Google Farm & Gin Show.