The 12th Annual National Conservation Systems Cotton & Rice Conference is headed to Marksville, La.

Sponsored by Cotton Incorporated and US Rice Producers Association, and a production of MidAmerica Farm Publications, the event is scheduled for Jan. 26 & 27, 2009 at the Paragon Casino Resort Convention Center.

As in the past 11 years, the conference is co-sponsored by Louisiana State University along with the following seven universities: University of Arkansas, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, Louisiana State University, Auburn University, and Texas A&M.

USDA-NRCS of Washington, D.C., and USDA-ARS centers in the Southern states are co-sponsors as well.

The conference has numerous corporate co-sponsors and a large trade show. Ag-Media co-sponsor is Farm Press Publications — Delta Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

This conference, a perennial success, first opened in Little Rock, Ark., in 1997 and alternated locations in succeeding years between Texas and Mississippi. The 2008 conference in Tunica, Miss., drew a record attendance of farmers who accounted for more than 1.4 million acres of agricultural production last year.

“Marksville is an ideal setting for the conference, providing a relaxing environment where farmers can visit with other farmers and researchers,” said John LaRose, chairman of the conference Steering Committee. The conference speakers are farmers and researchers from the Mid-South states.

As in the past, two other conferences will be sponsored by the Cotton and Rice Conference and held at the same time and location. The Mid- South Corn and Soybean Conference and the Mid-South Precision Ag Conference are held in conjunction with the Cotton & Rice Conference.

The Cotton and Rice Conference is a must-attend event for all farmers wishing to hone their production methods. The conference offers farmers ways to trim inputs while boosting yields.

In recent years both farmers and landlords have found that beyond tillage, there are many other farming resources that can be conserved through a properly designed conservation systems program.

The importance of conserving soil moisture, as well as reducing fuel, labor, seed, chemical, fertilizer and other input costs is the key to economic success for all farmers and landowners.

“The main emphasis of the conference is reducing production costs and increasing yields in cotton, rice, soybeans and corn through precision agriculture in its many forms,” said LaRose.

Farmers from Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee will be able to receive their state pesticide re-certification credits. Certified crop consultants can select from over 40 hours of qualifying sessions to earn CEU's during the conference.