Special to the Item
The Picayune Item
JACKSON, Miss. —
Nearly 650 Farm Bureau members, representing the state’s 82 county Farm Bureaus, took part in the three-day meeting where, in addition to the election of officers and directors, the delegates adopted policy to guide the organization’s efforts during 2013. Policies relating to national issues will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration at its annual meeting, which is scheduled for Nashville, Tenn., in mid-January.
Randy Knight, a dairy farmer from Pelahatchie, Mississippi, was re-elected to his second term as President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. Donald Gant from Merigold was re-elected as Vice President-North Mississippi; Ted Kendall from Bolton was re-elected as Vice President-Central Mississippi; and Reggie Magee from Mt. Olive was re-elected as Vice President-South Mississippi.
The delegate body identified several areas of interest as priority issues for the upcoming year including protecting animal husbandry practices based on sound science, protecting landowners from trespassers’ lawsuits, and supporting adequate funding for animal health issues.
Governor Phil Bryant gave the keynote address to the assembled delegates. He thanked Farm Bureau for their work in the Legislature and emphasized the importance of agriculture to Mississippi. “I was very proud to see that the agriculture industry in Mississippi is responsible for $7.2 billion worth of income,” said Bryant. “The agriculture industry in this state adds so many jobs — about 29 percent, think about that. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s workforce is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture.”
Newly elected or re-elected directors on the MFBF Board include Lowell Hinton, Corinth; Chris Lively, Clarksdale; Kelcey Shields, Mantachie; Kenny King, Ackerman; Jimmy Whitaker, Satartia; Oliver Limerick, Shuqualak; Vander Walley, Waynesboro; David Barton, Raymond; Mike McCormick, Union Church; Larry Jefcoat, Soso; and Louis Breaux, IV, Kiln. Jon Koehler Bibb of Tunica will sit on the Board due to his election as Young Farmer & Rancher Committee chairman.
Scott Cannada was selected as Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award winner and will travel to Nashville to represent Mississippi in the National Young Farmer Achievement Award competition. William and Julie White of Starkville were selected as the Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture award winners. They will also head to Nashville for national competition. Cory Williamson of Water Valley won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet, an event that challenges contestants’ discussion skills and their ability to persuade others to see their side of an issue. He will also compete in the national competition in Nashville in January.
Farm Bureau’s highest award, the MFBF Distinguished Service Award, was presented to Louis Breaux of Kiln. Mr. Breaux has worked closely with Farm Bureau for more than half a century in various county and state positions. He is currently an Honorary Vice President on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
There were two recipients of the Friend of Agriculture Award. Senator Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg and Representative Preston Sullivan of Okalona received the award for their support of agriculture and Farm Bureau in the Mississippi Legislature.
The Excellence in Leadership Award went to Jan Holley of Itawamba County for her many years of dedicated service to agriculture in Mississippi.
Paul Ott of Summit was given the Ag Ambassador Award for his work in promoting agriculture and Mississippi.
In other meeting activities, Molly Martin of Simpson County won the Farm Bureau Ambassador competition. Molly will be a spokesperson for Farm Bureau and agriculture during 2013.