Innovative technology — check. Interactive exhibits— check. Educational seminars — check. All are mainstays of an annual American agricultural event, the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, which will hold its 60th anniversary event March 2-3 at the downtown Cook Convention Center at Memphis
But, says Tim Price, show manager and executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the show with Delta Farm Press as co-sponsor, it’s the educational seminars that bring many to the show year after year.
“From Ag Update sessions to special seminars on critical issues, farmers have come to expect an educational component at the South’s premier farm show,” he says. “These sessions help farmers understand changes in the industry and ways they can take advantage of opportunities.”
For the first time, this year’s show will feature a special peanut marketing seminar; it will be held Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m. on the mezzanine level of the Convention Center.
“There is considerable interest in peanut production in the Mid-South,” Price says. “According to the University of Arkansas Extension, increasing prices driven by decreasing production is causing more farmers to think about adding peanuts to their crop plans for 2012.”
Reed Rogers, Golden Peanut Company, says there is great opportunity for Mid-South farmers to participate in the strong growth in peanut consumption in the U.S. and internationally.
“Even with recent price increases, consumers recognize the health benefits and value of peanuts and peanut butter,” Rogers says.
“Recent droughts in the Southeast and Southwest growing areas, coupled with higher prices of other commodities, make the prospects for new peanut growers even more attractive. Not only does the addition of peanuts diversify market risk, research has shown that cotton yields improve when grown in rotation with peanuts.”
Because of the growing interest in peanut production in the Mid-South, Price says, show attendees can hear representatives from the three companies — Birdsong Peanuts, Golden Peanut Company, LLC, and the Clint Williams Company — explain the benefits of incorporating peanuts into a farming operation.
Birdsong Peanuts was founded in 1914 at Suffolk, Va. Originally a warehousing company, they built their first modern shelling plant in 1940 at the behest of Planters Peanut Company. Birdsong now operates six shelling plants, 11 cold storages, and 85 buying points, and employs over 730 people across 11 peanut producing states. The company’s focus remains concentrated on a “peanuts only” philosophy, combined with a strong commitment to high quality and food safety and a priority of maintaining strong customer relationships. Birdsong is interested in expanding into Mississippi and Arkansas.
Georgia-based Golden Peanut Company began in 1986 through a partnership of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Gold Kist Peanuts. Today, Golden is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADM and operates six peanut shelling plants, an oil mill and refinery, and a peanut flour and aromatic oil facility in the key growing regions of the U.S. Golden’s geographic diversification and broad product line give peanut farmers wide access to domestic and international peanut markets. With a network of approximately 150 buying points, Golden has the capability to serve peanut farmers anywhere in the U.S.
The Clint Williams Company is an Oklahoma-based sheller with a presence reaching from the Mississippi Delta to west Texas. The company prides itself in the communication and relationship it has with growers, the access that growers have to the company’s management personnel, the vast peanut production knowledge base within its organization, and the production support it provides to growers. “We do not buy the most peanuts in the United States,” the company says. “We buy the best, we have the highest quality growers, and we have the best relationships with growers.” The company has committed to establishing two buying points in the Mississippi Delta and one in northeast Arkansas.
Register for the 2012 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show at the show’s website: www.farmandginshow.com. Click on the Attendee Registration button and complete the form.