An evening reception will give attendees at the National Conservation Systems Cotton & Rice Conference an opportunity to meet fellow producers who have excelled at stretching input dollars into profits.

The reception, the evening of Jan. 21, is sponsored by the US Rice Producers Association and will kick off the 11th annual conference, to be held this year at the Grand Casino Resort Convention Center at Tunica, Miss.

Alternating yearly between the Mid-South and the Southwest, last year's conference in Houston, Texas, drew more than 600 attendees, says John LaRose, chairman of the conference steering committee and publisher, MidAmerica Farm Publications, which produces the event.

“This conference is unique in that it has 91 breakout sessions presented by 47 university and industrial researchers and 44 full-time farmers from the Southern states,” he says. “The farmers bring something to this event that can't be found at any other conference in the United States.”

The breakout sessions by the farmers will showcase the production systems used on their farms to profitably produce cotton, rice, and corn.

New additions for 2008 will be the Mid-South Corn Conference and Mid-South Precision Ag Conference, to be held in conjunction with the main conference.

The corn conference will feature 16 corn production technology and systems breakout sessions by some of the nation's leading corn researchers and farmers. The precision ag conference will feature breakout sessions by nine precision agriculture researchers and farmers.

“These farmers are innovators,” says LaRose. “They've taken ideas that the researchers have developed and added innovative touches of their own, integrating them into successful money-making farming operations.

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

The conference is sponsored by Cotton Incorporated and US Rice Producers Association. Co-sponsors are the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, Auburn University, Texas A&M University, USDA-NRCS in Washington D.C., and USDA-ARS centers in the Southern states. There are also five corporate co-sponsors: Delta & Pine Land, Helena Chemical Co., Horizon Ag, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., and RiceTec.

Ag media co-sponsors are Delta Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

Entertainment at the Jan. 21 evening reception will be by the popular bluegrass group, “Grassfire.”

For further information on the conference or to register, visit the Web site at www.nctd.net, or telephone Robin Moll at 573-547-7212.