Another Mid-South Farm and Gin Show is in the history book, and congratulations are in order to Show Manager Tim Price and all parties for making it such a productive event after 61 years. Yeah, that’s right. This show has just completed its 61st year, and the diversity of information offered to attendees continues to amaze.
I know I have said this before, but this show has become almost akin to a family reunion of sorts in the cotton industry. Many exhibitors have been in the same location for so many years that it seems impossible to think of them being in a different spot. There is a comfortable feeling about this show, and that is one of its selling points. Business is conducted on the showroom floor because there is a positive atmosphere that fosters this kind of experience.
For instance, our friend Richard Kelley, long-time West Tennessee producer/ginner, was introducing some Australian ginners to various industry leaders on Saturday afternoon at the show. It was obvious that the Australians were enjoying the Southern hospitality, but they also were intrigued at how easy it was to talk to American ginners about issues of mutual interest. I chatted with them for a long time, and they were friendly and inquisitive. Instead of it turning into a technical discussion, the Australians wanted to talk about the congeniality of their American counterparts at the Memphis show.
We didn’t get into an in-depth discussion about the difference between Australian barbecue and Memphis barbecue, but we could’ve spent another hour talking about that topic, too.
Elsewhere, you could see similar examples of how important information was being exchanged. Some farmers and ginners attend this show every year, and this is the one time I get to see them. I find out who’s gotten married in the family and who is graduating from high school and college. We exchange business cards, and I get to add more names to my email list.
As big and complex as the cotton industry has become through the years, one fact remains the same. Folks in the cotton industry are like a big family. They love visiting with friends – even if it’s only for one weekend in Memphis. When the show concludes late on Saturday afternoon, we all bid farewell and look forward to next year – or perhaps the next industry event when we’ll see each other.
The Mid-South Farm and Gin Show is about friendships that are sustained through the years. The 2013 event continued that tradition.