High Plains farmers have an opportunity to pick up some last-minute production, marketing and farm program tips Feb. 25 at the Southwest Crops Production Conference and Expo in Lubbock.

The meeting, for the fifth straight year, will be held in the Lubbock Civic Center. Registration begins at 7:45 with coffee and doughnuts. The meeting begins promptly at 8:15.

Sponsors encourage pre-registration and will reward early birds with a chance to win door prizes, which in the past have included shotguns and restaurant gift certificates.

But the real reason for the conference is to provide timely information to help growers do a better job keeping yields up, costs down and bankers happy. Participants also earn continuing education units from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Certified Crop Advisers. CEU totals are currently being evaluated.

Crop experts will discuss latest production techniques and economists and association representatives will offer insights on markets and sales strategies.

Government officials also will provide updates on farm legislation passed in 2002. With deadlines rapidly approaching, many farmers still have not established yields and base acreage, according to state Farm Service Agency officials.

Farmers also get an opportunity to view some of the latest in technology and services at the Expo. Some of the areas top suppliers and service providers will be on hand to display new equipment.

Sponsors encourage early registration to get an accurate head count for the catered lunch, available at a nominal fee. Early registrants will be eligible for door prizes.

Along with Southwest Farm Press, sponsors for the conference include the Texas Cooperative Extension Service, the Texas A&M Agricultural Research Station, the USDA-ARS station at Lubbock, Texas Tech University, and yhe Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

For more information call 662-624-8503.

rsmith@primediabusiness.com