August 1, 2023
Each year the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show seems to effortlessly appear on the late February calendar in the Memphis area. Attendees visit exhibitors, collect giveaways, listen to ag industry leaders and even walk away with a puppy or two.
What they don’t see is the wizardry behind the scenes by longtime show manager Tim Price. What appears to be a flawless execution of the largest farm show in the Midsouth is put together with a flurry of activity throughout the year as Price and his team brainstorm, schedule, map and fine tune the show.
His knack for planning and support of the agricultural industry as the Executive Vice President of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association has been rewarded with the 2023 Ag Association Leader of the Year Award from the National Agriculture Marketing Association.
Achievement and excellence
The award recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence among senior executives who have made significant contributions to the ag community in their roles with a trade association or a commodity organization, according to NAMA.
“The award is well deserved,” said Greg Frey, senior vice president, Data and Media Services, at Informa Markets, a show sponsor. “Price is key to his organization and having worked with him in conjunction with the farm and gin show, I have seen his ability to multitask and manage the high-pressure environment of the show.”
Price has also managed SCGA during a time of incredible change in the ag industry.
“I've seen that change with a 300-foot view from the top of the second floor looking out to the convention center,” Price said. “We've always done what we could to embrace the cutting edge of technology and make it relevant for the farm decision maker.”
He’s embraced that technology, as well, in the regular operation of the ginners association as gins have consolidated, added onboard module building, brought software improvements into the gin and even managed through the pandemic.
“I think that associations are able to bring individuals together on the frontline of these developments - on the ground, mud on the boots, hands in the dirt – to manage those very complex issues, and vertically integrate them into their operations,” Price said. “We need to listen to individual farmers and ginners first and foremost, give them good information that they can process through the lens of their operations and make that known in the public governmental and regulatory world.”
It's what Price seems to do best, manage situations – technology, policy, programs – to the advantage of those in the field that can benefit from them.
“He is a very resourceful, natural leader throughout the ginning and farming industry,” said SCGA President Gary Bailey. “He’s always on the forefront with new technology that can improve the gin industry and is solution focused, for example, things that come up like plastic contamination, seed size and correlation to yield, cotton quality and safety.”
Bailey also notes Price takes a hands-on approach to issues that can arise in the moment and works with the industry to plan a solution quickly and effectively.
He is described by NAMA as being a servant leader and true collaborator. Trust, integrity and generosity are foundational to his approach to business.
Price grew up on a farm in Louisiana. He was the state FFA president and scouted cotton in Gilliam, La., as part of a plant nutrition management program, later receiving degrees from Louisiana State University and Texas A&M.
Upon graduation, he worked for the Federal Land Bank in New Orleans, La., before going to work for American Farm Bureau Federation where he was involved in national and international policymaking for cotton, rice and sugar.
In 1980 he first visited the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show as a featured speaker for the AFBF.
Guiding the gin show
When Lee Todd retired as executive vice president of the SCGA in 2003, Price was selected as his replacement for the five-state region, carrying on the responsibility for the associations management, as well as overseeing the farm and gin show, which marked its 71st year in 2023.
“Our trade show tries to reflect that domestically and internationally, the world needs input from the folks who are on the ground and understand it,” Price said. “We need to have a higher respect for the agribusiness sector and the complexities that they face. A local Bayer dealer is really tied to folks across the pond in the UK. We need to keep alive the fact that we are part of a world market, and we have to constantly say what is in the interest of our industry and what's in the interest of our country.”
He can do that through the gin show, but also notes that the award is not an award for the best farm show. It is an award for association work and how that work benefits the men and women on the ground on their farms.
It’s that reach through the show that allows for a successful extension into the world outside of the ag community. For example, in the past the show has been a venue for activities for youth involved in ag to make contact with urban environments where individuals are seldom exposed to agriculture.
For several years FFA students filled food bags for local food banks. That event has migrated into a 4-H food competition, which has taken place for the last two years during the show.
“There is an involvement in a public policy way, in a broadly viewed way - the absolute importance for a farm kid to understand the vital role that food and food policy plays for the folks that are their next-door neighbors,” Price said. “Hopefully getting someone to not only consider agriculture, but to consider an appreciation for the long reach that farming plays in terms of food and nutrition.”
He also mentions food as medicine – how we can produce healthy food. Price said we need to be aware of how we eat because a great deal of today’s health issues come with not eating the right foods.
“It comes from the concept of how we think about food from a healthy standpoint,” he said.
He also notes throughout his career he has witnessed evolution and revolution in agriculture. The trends have been cost driven consolidation, consumer driven innovation and dynamic changes due to globalization and technology in every aspect of production and marketing.
Those changes have also taken place at the gin show as the seminars and outlooks focus on the changing technical landscape of the world at-large. Virtual platforms for the show were developed as COVID-19 hit.
Those platforms opened the door to international participation and currently attract individuals from 15 to 20 locations around the world. Price expects the virtual platform of the show to continue as a vital component.
He also believes the social responsibility of his organization and its members is not just the management and safety of their individual operations, but how those operations and the association impact the local and international community. The SCGA under Tim Price’s leadership is taking on that task and has been rewarded for that effort.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Current Conditions for
Enter a zip code to see the weather conditions for a different location.
This Week in Agribusiness, Dec. 9, 2023Dec 08, 2023
FFA Tribute: Caleb HorneDec 08, 2023
Grains face modest end-of-week cutsJan 18, 2023
USDA issues minor cuts to 2023/24 Brazil soybean cropDec 08, 2023