Monday, September 10, 2018

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Visits County

The Winston County Cattleman’s Association hosted Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner, Mr. Andy Gipson last Thursday evening. Prior to Commissioner Gipson’s speech to the Cattleman Association, Penny Barrier with our local USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office, planned a tour for the Commissioner to see some of Winston County’s Agricultural contributions to the state’s economy.

Agriculture is Mississippi’s greatest economic driver, boasting 36,200 farms, with a value of approximately $7.56 BILLION, from 10.7 million acres farmed. Winston County is a main stream contributor to Mississippi’s agriculture economy, with more than 80,000 acres in production, on an average of 500 privately owned farms. With Winston County having such a positive impact economically, there is a problem facing the agriculture community on the near horizon.

This problem was mentioned by Commissioner Gipson throughout the day as he toured our county. The problem facing us, is not unique to Winston, but the state and nation alike. The problem is our State’s farmer’s average age is 60, with more and more young people choosing other career paths.

Commissioner Gipson took time to meet, and talk with the FFA students attending the Cattleman’s meeting, and encouraged them to stay in school, make good grades, and explore all the opportunities agriculture can offer them, not only in technical careers, but the hundreds of professional careers absolutely crucial to the agricultural community.

Commissioner Gipson, was impressed with the diversity of agriculture commodities produced in Winston County. We toured a great cross-section of these commodities, to include row crop, beef, and poultry production. On behalf of MSU Extension, I’d like to thank the Winston Cattleman Association, USDA/NRCS office, Mr. Bobby Moody, Hugh Barrier, and Charlie Wilkes for representing Winston County Agriculture with great distinction. Lastly, I’d like to thank Commissioner Gipson for taking time from his undeniably busy schedule, to visit Winston County and encourage our agriculture community, and Winston County’s young people to take the reins of agriculture for the next generation.

Submitted by:  Jim McAdory, MSU Extension Agent