Special to this year’s Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, to be held Friday and Saturday at the downtown Memphis Cook Convention Center, will be an informational seminar on a topic of major interest — weed resistance —and a guest appearance by Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The 58th annual event is sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor.

“We’re honored to welcome Sen. Lincoln to the show,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president and show manager. “She is a long-time advocate for agriculture, and we appreciate her coming to provide insight into key policy issues of concern to Mid-South farmers.”

The senator will speak Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Steamboat Room of the Convention Center.

“Times are hard for farmers,” she notes, “and I will use this opportunity to hear firsthand from growers and industry leaders on the challenges they face as they plan for the future. Together, we will work to insure that our agricultural producers can continue to meet our food and fiber needs, while providing much-needed economic strength to our rural communities.”

The seminar on herbicide-resistant weeds will be held Friday at 1:30 in the Steamboat Room of the convention center.

“Herbicide resistance has emerged as one of the leading production issues for farmers, not only in the Mid-South but across the nation,” Price says. “Farmers are concerned about how to deal with this critical issue, which could drastically change their production practices.”

Ken Smith, University of Arkansas Extension weed specialist, will provide an overview and moderate the panel discussion.

Other participants will be Jason Bond, assistant research professor-rice weed management, Mississippi State University; Daniel Stephenson, assistant professor/specialist weed science, Louisiana State University AgCenter, and Larry Steckel, University of Tennessee Extension weed specialist.

The timing of this year’s Mid-South Farm and Gin Show comes at a critical junction for the region’s farmers, says Price.

“Our show comes on the heels of one of the most trying seasons growers have had in years and as they’re ready to kick off the 2010 crop year with early corn planting — so we’re right on target in offering an outstanding lineup of informational opportunities along with 400-plus exhibits featuring perhaps the most extensive array of products and services we’ve ever had. “A lot of farmers are still reeling from last year’s challenging weather and the impact it had on their management programs,” Price says. “They’re looking for information and solutions to better cope with adversities that may occur, as well as insight into markets, legislation, and other issues of importance as they go into the new year.”

Ag Update Seminars

The informational Ag Update seminars to be held Friday and Saturday will include outlook sessions for cotton and grains, along with comments from industry officials.

Headliner speakers for the 8:30 a.m. Friday seminar will be Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods, and Joe Nicosia, Allenberg Cotton Co.

At the Saturday 8:30 a.m. session, Richard Brock, Brock and Associates, will present his in-depth seminar on grain marketing.

Admission is free, but registration is required for admittance to the show areas.

Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Ginner associations meet today

The member associations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be holding their annual meeting today (Thursday), with informational sessions and other events, including its annual banquet, at which Ginner of the Year Kevin Watts, McGehee Producers Gin, McGehee, Ark., will be recognized, and the late Duke Shackelford, Jones, La., producer/ginner, will be honored with an SCGA memorial scholarship for the Gin Management Technology Program at Mississippi State University.

The SCGA annual meeting, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Peabody Hotel’s Venetian Room, will include an annual update on association and foundation activities, along with presentations by industry representatives, university researchers, and others.

Speakers include Kirk Gilkey, president of the National Cotton Ginners Association; Paul Scruggs, location manager, Cottonseed Trading Group/Lansing Trade Group, who will discuss “The Changing World of Cottonseed Marketing”; Matthew Fannin, assistant professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, Louisiana State University, who will discuss “Mid-South Ginning Infrastructure”; Pete Nelson, director of the AgBioworks program for the Memphis BioWorks Foundation, who will discuss “The Mid-South Potential for Biotechnology”; Tommy Valco, cotton technology transfer and education coordinator, Office of Technology Transfer, USDA-ARS, Stoneville, Miss., who will discuss ginning research; and Paul Funk, USDA Southwestern Cotton Ginning Laboratory, who will discuss “Gin Energy Use.”

All association members are encouraged to invite their farmers and stockholders to attend the meeting, Price says.

“This is an opportunity for our members to get updates on critical issues in our industry and to hear from professionals working on critical ginning industry research and the potential for Mid-South agriculture in emerging industries.”

For more information about the show, contact the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at 901-947-3104 or visit their Web site, farmandginshow.com