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Revolutionary cotton pickers at the Farm & Gin show

Two of the most-talked about machines in the cotton industry will be on display at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, giving farmers a first-hand look at the “next revolution” in harvesting technology.

The Case IH and John Deere harvesters with on-board module builders will be available for inspection, with company representatives eager to provide all the details about how the machines will improve harvesting efficiency and reduce costs.

“This will be a great opportunity for producers to see, under the same roof, what all the talk has been about for the past five years or so,” says Tim Price, show manager and executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation, which sponsors the annual event, set this year for Feb. 29-March 1 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

“And the development of these new machines demonstrates the vision the companies have for the cotton industry and its ability to adapt and to use cutting-edge technology to stay competitive in today’s dynamic markets.”

The new harvesters are a highlight of the more than 400 exhibits that will cover more than 200,000 square feet of space in the show halls.

The event, which is co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press, is the South’s largest indoor farm show. Exhibitors from 48 states and five foreign countries will display the latest in farm equipment, products, and services — including precision farming technology.

“Each year we welcome new and different attractions,” Price says. “Our expanded exhibit space provides the opportunity for new exhibitors to complement the companies that have been associated with the show for many years — several of them going back to its founding, more than a half-century ago.

“Many new products will be showcased, giving attendees the first opportunity to see what’s available for the new growing season.”

The show attracts more than 20,000 farmers, ginners, and industry representatives each year.

“Our goal each year is to make the show a forum for spotlighting the changes and issues that confront the ag sector, so farmers will have the information and tools they need to survive in this dynamic arena,” Price says. “Farmers showed in 2007 that they could adjust and adapt to changing market signals by adjusting their crop programs.

“There’s a greater need than ever for decision-makers to be well-armed with information that can help them to make choices that support their operations.”

In addition to the exhibits, informational sessions will focus on key issues ranging from cotton quality to legal matters.

The member organizations of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association will be meeting prior to the show, with several key issues to be spotlighted at their general session Thursday, Feb. 28, at 1:30 at the Peabody Hotel. The theme is, “Cotton’s Future and the Ginning Sector: Where Do We Go From Here?”

Speakers include Kater Hake, vice president of agricultural research for Cotton Incorporated; Tommy Valco, USDA/ARS cotton technology transfer and education director, Stoneville, Miss.; and John W. Lewis, Nashville attorney who will discuss a proposed model contract for cottonseed.

Anyone interested in hearing the speakers is invited to attend.

In the Friday Ag Update session at 8:30 a.m. at the convention center, speakers will be Larry McClendon, chairman of the National Cotton Council, who will discuss cotton legislation and policy issues; Carl Brothers, senior vice president at Riceland Foods, who will give the market outlook for rice and wheat; and Joe Nicosia, CEO for Allenberg Cotton Co., who will discuss the outlook for U.S. and world cotton.

For the 8:30 a.m. Ag Update session Saturday at the convention center, Richard Brock, president of Brock Associates, will present his special marketing outlook seminar, including updates on agriculture and energy legislation.

At 1 p.m., Saturday, also at the convention center, a special seminar on energy costs will be held.

“Energy is at the forefront of any farm plan nowadays,” Price says, “and we encourage everyone to attend this informative seminar.”

For additional information on the show, contact the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at (901) 947-3104, or visit their Web site

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