Thanks to a 35,000 square foot expansion of the convention center’s exhibit space, the 51st annual show will offer the largest array of exhibits in its history — from A to Z.
This year’s show will come just before most farmers kick off the new season, notes Lee Todd, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, which sponsors the show.
“It will offer an opportunity for growers to get the latest outlook on crops and markets from two Ag Update seminars, plus meeting face to face with representatives for a wide range of equipment, products, and services,” he says.
The event, co-sponsored by Delta Farm Press, will have hundreds of exhibits, and is the largest indoor assembly of agricultural products and equipment in the Mid-South, and the largest cotton equipment trade show in the nation.
“For the past three years, our exhibit space has been curtailed by construction at the convention center,” Todd says. “With the completion of the project, we were able to open up new space to potential exhibitors who’d been on a waiting list, and to offer more space to long-time exhibitors who wanted to expand.
“The additional space will also allow a more efficient, easier-to-navigate traffic flow for those who attend. We’ll also have a broader food service selection for breaks and meals.
“For those who may not have been to the show in the last year or two, it’ll almost be a completely new event, thanks to all the changes we’ve been able to make as a result of the added space. We hope everyone is making plans to come to Memphis and help us kick off our second half-century with our biggest-ever show.”
This year’s event will continue the perennially popular Ag Update seminars. “We always have a packed house for these sessions,” Todd says, “and this year should be no exception as growers try to get as much information as possible on which to base their decisions for the new year.
Here’s the lineup for the sessions:
Friday, Feb. 28, 8:30 a.m.
•Richard Bell, Riceland Foods chief executive officer, will present the market outlook for grains.
•Bobby Greene, the new National Cotton Council chairman, will provide an update on council activities.
•Memphis cotton merchant William Dunavant will give his annual forecast for U.S. and world cotton.
Saturday, March 1, 8:30 a.m.
•Berrye Worsham, president of Cotton Incorporated, will discuss how the producer-funded research and promotion organization helps U.S. growers.
•Dr. O. A. Cleveland, Jr., cottonexperts.com, will discuss cotton economics for 2003.
•A Senate Agriculture Committee staff member will present a farm legislation update.
The Southern Cotton Ginners Association and its member organizations will also be holding their annual meetings during the week of the show. They include the Arkansas-Missouri Cotton Ginners Association, the Mississippi Cotton Ginners Association, the Tennessee Cotton Ginners Association, and the Louisiana Cotton Ginners Association.
Most association meetings and events, including an honors reception/banquet, will be held at the historic Peabody Hotel.
At the annual meeting of the association Thursday, Feb. 27, at 1:30 p.m. in the Venetian Room at the Peabody, speakers will include: Rick Holder, president, National Cotton Ginners Association; Jerry Marshall, Cargill Cotton Inc., and Dr. Jerry Gilbert, Mississippi State University.
Delta Farm Press will publish the official program for the show, which will be distributed to all subscribers in the Feb. 21 issue and to the Alabama circulation of the Feb. 19 Southeast Farm Press. The program will also be available to all show attendees.