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VOLUME 90 NO. 2

MARCH/APRIL 2014

A Publication of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation • MSFB.org


Farm Bureau: Making a Difference in Your Life

The Young Farmers & Ranchers Program, which is open to agricultural professionals between the ages of 18-35, will help you build the skills you need to assume a leadership role within Farm Bureau or any other agricultural organization on the county, state and national levels. Our members gain access to competitive awards programs, great networking and media training opportunities and the excellent Farm Bureau policy development and implementation process.

Awards Opportunities Discussion Meet: Participants in this competition have an opportunity to discuss and propose solutions to issues that currently challenge agriculture. The state winner receives a new 4-wheeler, a cash award and a trip to the AFBF convention. Semifinalists receive a cash award. Achievement Award: This contest recognizes outstanding young farmers whose farm management practices and community leadership activities set a positive example for those involved in agriculture. Participants must derive most of their income from their farming operation. Judging is based on the growth of their operation over time and their leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community. The state winner receives a Ford F-150 pickup, a $1,800 stipend to purchase new technology, cash awards and a trip to the AFBF convention. Regional winners receive a cash award. Excellence in Agriculture: This contest recognizes YF&R members who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement in

Farm Bureau and agriculture. Participants are judged on their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability and their involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations (i.e., civic, service and community). The ideal candidate (s) for the Excellence in Agriculture Award is an individual or couple who does not have the majority of their income subject to normal production risk. The state winner receives a zero-turn lawnmower. Regional winners receive a Yeti cooler.

Activities • MSU Tailgate: Gives members a chance each fall to get to know each other, enjoy delicious food and cheer on a great team! • State YF&R Leadership Conference: Provides educational and networking opportunities as well as a fun time with fellow members. • Farm Bureau State Convention: Offers awards opportunities, educational sessions and networking opportunities with other agricultural professionals from across the state. •

YF&R State Committee: Provides leadership and direction for the state program. Committee members have an opportunity to participate in activities such as the National Leadership Conference and the Washington D.C. legislative trips.

Pictured are Mallory Sayle of DeSoto County, chair of the 2014 YF&R State Committee, and Jon Koehler Bibb of Tunica County, chair of the 2013 YF&R State Committee.

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MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY Volume 90 Number 2 March/April 2014 Mississippi Farm Country (ISSN 1529-9600) magazine is published bimonthly by the Mississippi Farm Bureau® Federation. Farm Bureau members receive this publication as part of their membership benefit. Periodicals postage is paid at Jackson, MS and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to P. O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215 EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICES 6311 Ridgewood Road Jackson, MS 39211 601-977-4153 EDITOR - Glynda Phillips ADVERTISING Angela Thompson 1-800-227-8244 ext. 4242 FARM BUREAU OFFICERS President – Randy Knight Vice President – Donald Gant Vice President – Ted Kendall Vice President – Reggie Magee Treasurer – Billy Davis Corporate Secretary – Ilene Sumrall FARM BUREAU DIRECTORS Dr. Jim Perkins, Iuka Lowell Hinton, Corinth Tommy Swindoll, Hernando Chris Lively, Clarksdale Tripp Thomas, Batesville Kelcey Shields, Mantachie Herbert Word, Okolona Kenneth King, Ackerman Pepper Beard, Coila Jimmy Whitaker, Satartia Kenneth Thompson, Philadelphia Vander Walley, Waynesboro Quinton Mills, Forest David C. Barton, Raymond Robert Earl McGehee Jr., Brookhaven Mike McCormick, Union Church Bobby Selman, Monticello Larry Jefcoat, Soso J. B. Brown, Perkinston Louis J. Breaux IV, Kiln Betty Mills, Winona Mallory Sayle, Lake Cormorant HONORARY VICE PRESIDENT Louis J. Breaux III Material in this publication is based on what the editor believes to be reliable information. Neither Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation nor those individuals or organizations contributing to the MFBF publication assume any liability for errors that might go undetected in the publication — this includes statements in articles or advertisements that could lead to erroneous personal or business management decisions. FARM BUREAU®, FB® and all Farm Bureau logos used in this magazine are registered service marks owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation. They may not be used in any commercial manner without the prior written consent of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

CONTENTS

March/April

2014

FEATURES 6 Young Farmer Leaders Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation honored its outstanding young farmer leaders at state convention in December. In this issue, we visit some of these exceptional men and women.

16 Solve the Mystery Our mystery town, located in Pearl River County, is named for a Spanish coin. Read the clues and make your guess.

26 State Convention Coverage Coverage of the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is featured inside.

DEPARTMENTS 2 Member Benefits 6

President’s Message

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Commodity Update: Aquaculture

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Commodity Update: Beef

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Strolling: Sam Scott

“Our mission is to create an environment in which Mississippi farmers, ranchers, and Farm Bureau members can have a better life and make a better living.”

About the

cover

Yazoo County row crop and cattle farmer Matt Edgar is pictured on his farm near Benton. Matt and his wife, Carrie, were recently named state winners of the 2013 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award. Read their story inside.

Design: The Cirlot Agency 4

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

STATE DISCUSSION MEET WINNER

Randy Knight, President, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

Back in the early years of our marriage, Mary and I were busy raising our daughters and working on the family dairy near Pelahatchie. Time passed quickly, and now our kids are grown, the dairy is closed and our farm consists of beef cattle, stocker calves, timber and horses. We are also beginning our fourth year of service to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.

OUR YOUNG

FARMERS

Mary and I are proud of all that we have accomplished, and we are excited about our present responsibilities, but sometimes we talk about those long ago years with more than a little nostalgia. It might be hard for young people to believe, but in a very real sense, those early days were some of the best days of our lives.

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Brandi Karisch of Oktibbeha County is the winner of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) State Discussion Meet. She received a 4-wheeler from Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, $500 from Southern Ag Credit and $500 from Watson Quality Ford. YF&R Discussion Meet finalists received $350 from Southern Ag Credit. Brandi, an Extension beef cattle specialist at Mississippi State University, competed nationally at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, where she made it into the Sweet Sixteen semifinals. Pictured with Brandi is Randy Johns of Southern Farm Bureau Life.

If you are a young ag professional between the ages of 18 and 35, I invite you to check out our Young Farmers & Ranchers Program. It is designed to help you hone your leadership skills, but best of all, it presents you with an opportunity to network with other young farmers across the state. You share challenges and success stories, and you meet folks just like you. It is hard for other young professionals to understand what farmers do on a daily basis. Meeting and getting to know your peers can be a wonderful experience.

Young Farmers When I visit with young farmers across the state, I am reminded of the excitement they must feel as they stand at the beginning of the rest of their lives. Sure, disappointments are inevitable and sorrows will come, but I wish for all of them countless more days of joy and celebration. I hope they never become discouraged, and I hope they always remember that even though farming is one of the most challenging occupations on earth it is also one of the most rewarding. Farmers feed, clothe and shelter the world. I don’t know why anyone would want to do anything else.

Discussion Meet winner. Brandi is an Extension beef specialist at Mississippi State University. And finally, Jon Koehler Bibb of Tunica County and Mallory Sayle of DeSoto County are featured with an article that talks about the Young Farmers & Ranchers Program. Jon Koehler is our retiring YF&R State Committee chair, while Mallory will chair the committee in 2014.

If you know of a young farmer couple in your area who is not involved in this program, encourage them to become active volunteer leaders. We welcome their energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Award. They are very active in the YF&R Program, and Matt is one of the youngest-ever presidents of Yazoo County Farm Bureau.

In this issue of our magazine, we meet some of our outstanding young farmers from across the state. These men and women are already excellent leaders, so imagine how great their skills will be in another 20 years. Farm Bureau is truly blessed.

Reid and Kate Nevins of Hamilton in Monroe County use their produce farm and apiary as a way of teaching kids and adults to appreciate agriculture. They say it is one of the most meaningful things they have ever done. They are the state winners of our YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Matt and Carrie Edgar of Benton in Yazoo County are the state winners of our Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement

Brandi Karisch of Oktibbeha County represented us nationally as our state

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For more information, contact YF&R Coordinator Kirsten Johnson at (601) 977-4277.

Spring Almost Here In conclusion, I know as spring approaches you are eager to get back in your fields. On the heels of an especially wet and cool planting season in 2013, here’s to better conditions in 2014. I hope you have your best year yet, and whenever you get the chance, I invite you to come see me. My door is always open.

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Commodity

Update:

Aquaculture

Catfish Farmers Remain Optimistic

Mississippi catfish farmers are some of the hardest-working people on the planet, contributing countless hours to their operations just to make a living. This has become increasingly difficult due to a number of variables, many of which are out of their control. From increased feed costs to competing with imports, catfish farmers have had their share of hard knocks these past several years. Nevertheless, day in and day out, they remain passionate about growing a safe and healthy food source. In the 1980s and 1990s, farm-raised catfish became one of the most important agricultural activities in several Southern states, including Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana. Today, Mississippi’s water acreage might be down, but since the late 1980s, we continue to have more production acreage than all of the other states combined. According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), Mississippi had approximately 113,500 water acres in production in 2001-2002, and that number has since declined to 48,500 water acres in 2013. Catfish continues to lead the aquaculture industry in the United States, with commercial catfish production generating over 40 percent of the value of aquaculture production in the U.S. The U.S. saw its first commercial catfish production back in the 1960s. Since then, the catfish industry has been a primary source of economic activity and employment in a number of Mississippi counties and generates an economic impact of millions of dollars in our state. Production can be found primarily in two areas, one being the Delta and the other being a less well-defined area of east-central Mississippi. Today’s catfish farmers face many challenges. Feed costs have hit all-time highs due to the 8

Commodity

Update: Beef

BRITTON HATCHER

CHRIS MCGLAWN

MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Aquaculture

MFBF Aquaculture Advisory Committee Chair

high commodity prices over the past several years. At the same time, fuel and labor costs have increased, making profit margins thin if at all. All of this, coupled with high importation of white fish, has been the one-two punch for some farmers. As America’s population grows, so does its appetite for seafood. This has led to an onslaught of imported seafood from foreign countries. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 2010, approximately 62 percent of all farmed seafood in the world was produced in China, 26 percent in Asia outside of China, 4.5 percent in Europe and 4.5 percent in the Americas. This importation of seafood has impacted our catfish industry by providing a cheaper, inferior product. Imports of popular white fish continued to grow during 2012, regardless of lingering health and safety issues with Asian-farmed fish. U.S. imports of pangasius, better known as basa, tra and swai, primarily from Vietnam, and Asian-raised tilapia both jumped about 18 percent. This increase, along with foreign countries’ weak enforcement of food safety standards, led to more and more contaminated fish imports. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused shipments of seafood due to unsafe additives, labeling and veterinary drug residues found in fish and shellfish introduced at the farm level. “Check the packaging and make sure to buy U.S. Farm-raised Catfish. Mississippi catfish farmers follow U.S. laws, which are among the most stringent in the world and govern the harvest and processing of food for human consumption. Other countries are not required to follow such laws, and that creates an unfair playing field. Country of Origin Labeling laws

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have been passed to help you make informed decisions by providing the product’s country of origin on its packaging,” said Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute and executive vice president of the Catfish Farmers of America. Beginning July 1, 2013, Mississippi changed its Mississippi Catfish Marketing Law. The new law requires food service establishments to inform consumers of the country of origin and method of production of basa, swai and tra, as well as catfish. “Consumers want to know where their food is coming from so they can make informed decisions about their food choices. This law will allow them to do that. Federal law mandates Country of Origin Labeling for catfish, basa, swai and tra in grocery stores, and now, consumers will also be able to know the source of their catfish, basa, swai or tra in Mississippi restaurants.” said Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith. With all the bumps in the road, farmers who have endured the storm remain optimistic that eventually things will pick up and catfish will rebound.

Sources: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_aq_101.html http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Mississippi/Publications/ Ag_Reports/2013/vol13-02.txt http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-informationbulletin/eib52.aspx#.Us3exCjcxUM http://www.mdac.ms.gov/agency/press_releases/pdf/2013_07_01.pdf http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-informationbulletin/eib52.aspx#.Us3exCjcxUM The Catfish Institutes News Alert 4/15/13

Market Outlook for Beef Industry

As 2014 gets underway, the beef industry appears poised to enjoy its best year in a long time. Prices at every level of the industry are at historic highs and should remain wellsupported by tight cattle and beef supplies and generally good demand. For November (the most recent data available), the all-fresh retail beef price worked out to just over $5 per pound – up about 1 percent from the prior month. The strong retail price has helped to hold the boxed beef cutout value up close to the $200 per hundredweight mark, which has in turn supported the record fed cattle and calf prices that we saw in the last quarter of 2013. There are good reasons to expect the strong industry performance of last year to carry over into this year. Most obviously, cattle supplies remain historically tight. As herd expansion begins to siphon additional females out of the market mix, supplies will seem even tighter. Right now, USDA projects a 4.7 percent decline in beef production in 2014. This is historically a very large annual decline, and the short supply situation will continue to be supportive of prices. The demand side of the market will be interesting, too. It has been remarkable how well retail beef prices have held up over the past three or four months as competing meat prices have been flat or declining. This suggests strong beef demand from domestic consumers. Recently, economic indicators have become increasingly positive. If economic recovery finally does begin to pick up real steam in 2014, beef demand will almost certainly improve still more. Foreign demand has also been quite good. Despite lower production and higher prices in 2013, beef exports appear to have increased

JON KILGORE

JODY WAGNER

MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Beef

MFBF Beef Commodity Advisory Committee Chair

slightly. The resumption of sales to Japan of beef from animals up to 30 months of age was clearly a positive development for foreign demand in 2013. It is possible that the reopening of the Chinese market to U.S. beef could provide a further demand boost in 2014. How much is hard to say. When U.S. beef last had unrestricted access to the Chinese market, it really didn’t amount to much; however, beef demand in that country appears now to be growing by leaps and bounds. Getting back in will clearly be positive for the market, and the sooner it happens, the better. With these positive fundamentals in place, it is tempting to think that nothing could go wrong for the industry at this point. Of course, anyone who has been in the cattle industry for any amount of time can explain, probably from painful personal experience, the folly of that kind of thinking. Adverse weather, major trade disruptions, unforeseen demand shocks (remember “pink slime?”), a larger-thanexpected surge in broiler production or any of an infinite number of unpleasant surprises can’t be entirely ruled out. But based on all the factors that are visible now, the outlook is good – better than it has been in several years. To that, I’m sure most cattlemen are saying, “It’s about time.”

Special Recognition Farm Bureau would like to thank Mike McCormick for his four years of service chairing the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Beef Advisory Committee. Mike has worked closely with staff and has followed the beef issues on a national level to ensure that speakers and topics for our commodity meetings are current and related

to issues producers face each day. We are grateful for his dedication to the beef industry as he continues to serve on our Cattleman’s Beef Board. Assuming the role of chair of the MFBF Beef Advisory Committee is Jody Wagner from the Hickory Community in Newton County. Jody was appointed to this position by MFBF President Randy Knight. John Anderson, Deputy Chief Economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, contributed to this article.

Magnolia Beef and Poultry Expo The 11th Annual Magnolia Beef and Poultry Expo is set for April 10 at the Smith County Ag Complex in Raleigh. This year’s expo will offer educational seminars dealing with topics such as pelvic measurements and their importance in replacement heifers and the new DEQ permits for poultry producers. The trade show will display approximately 50 distributors, ranging from financial institutions to equipment, feed and seed dealers. This is an educational event and a great benefit to both beef and poultry producers. Approximately 400 producers attend annually.

www.uscatfish.com Roger Barlow, President of The Catfish Institute

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YOUNG FARMERS CARRY ON LEGACY BY GLYNDA PHILLIPS

Matt Edgar of Benton farms land that has been in his family since the 1800s. As he walks across pastureland behind his house on a sunny day in mid-December, he talks about his cattle and row crop operation, those family farmers who came before him and some of the issues facing today’s farmers. Like most of our nation’s young farmers, Matt’s enthusiasm, pride and commitment are evident, and that bodes well for the future of agriculture.

“I am farming what was originally my maternal grandparents’ place. My grandfather decided to retire, and I’ve been here ever since. But I rent additional land, and I am always on the lookout for land to buy. “The house and land where Carrie and I are raising our two sons was once my uncle’s home, and we are grateful to have it in our family again. We are continuing the farming legacy from both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family, and that feels pretty good.”

Weather Challenges In addition to land availability, weather can be a challenge. In recent years, farmers have also had to deal with catastrophic disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. The flood had a devastating impact on Matt and his family.

As state winners of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, the Edgars received a new Ford F-150, compliments of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. They are pictured with Jack Williams.

Good Farmland Matt and his wife, Carrie, run 120 head of Angus-based commercial cattle, and he and his father farm 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. On a limited basis, Matt custom harvests grain for local producers, and the Edgars own 600 acres of timber. In the past, they have leased some of their timberland to hunters. Carrie, a registered mammographer, works for a local hospital.

“Without a doubt, the most unusual situation to affect our operation came with the Flood of 2011,” Matt said. “The wheat crop was within a few weeks of being ready for harvest, with projections of an above-average yield. Riding through the fields and looking at some of the best crops the row crop operation had achieved was a very emotional experience for my family.

to the flood. Several areas of the fields were 15 feet deep in backwater – floodwater from Mississippi River tributaries that overtopped their banks and flooded surrounding areas. Waiting on the waters to recede required much patience and prayer. Our remaining row crop acreage was on non-irrigated land, and in complete contrast to the flooded land, those crops were experiencing extreme drought conditions. “On June 1, the row crop operation made a change in direction from initial plans. With the receding of the floodwaters from the fields, my father and I began to plant soybeans on the land that had been flooded. It was July 1 when the planting of the last field was completed with the realization that this late planting could easily place the business in a very serious financial situation. “Placing the outcome in God’s hands was all that could be done,” he said. “Prayers were definitely answered when this soybean crop turned out to be the best one to date. Under normal circumstances, late planting would have resulted in a significant reduction in yields. The late-planted beans were blessed with timely rains not normal for July and August here.”

“Along with other farmers and family friends, we watched as the waters covered the crops,” he said. “Our row crop operation lost 1,700 acres

Getting and keeping good available farmland is a big challenge for most farmers. Every year, farmland values and rental rates go up, and farmers must remain competitive in order to rent or purchase land.

Photo by Mark Morris

Matt and Carrie Edgar are pictured with their sons, Adam, 6, and Wyatt, 3.

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“We must keep enough land to maintain the size of our operations,” Matt said. “It is getting harder and harder every year, especially with the size of farms increasing, to keep the amount of the land we need. As state winners of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, the Edgars received $500 from Watson Quality Ford and $1,800 from Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation toward the purchase of technology. The finalists in this competition received $500 from Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company and $500 from Southern Ag Credit.

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Farm Bureau Matt’s granddaddy got him involved in Farm Bureau 14 years go. Today, he serves as one of Yazoo County Farm Bureau’s youngest presidents ever. In 2013, on behalf of his county, Matt applied for and received $2,500 from the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program to help Yazoo County Farm Bureau establish a new scholarship fund. In 2010, he helped establish an annual countywide farmer appreciation reception. Matt has served as chair of the Yazoo County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee and as a voting delegate to state and national conventions. He and

Carrie served on the YF&R State Committee and participated in the YF&R Washington D.C. Tour. Matt was a “Final Four” contestant in the YF&R State Discussion Meet. Matt believes wholeheartedly in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Program and actively recruits new members from his county. He has made many friends through the program and is certain they will remain lifelong friends. He says farming is a unique way to make a living that most 9-to-5 young professionals could never understand. “It’s a revelation for young farmers involved in the YF&R Program to meet other young farmers who understand what we face every day of our lives.” Matt is active in the county livestock association and the county and state cattlemen’s associations. He and Carrie teach Sunday school.

As state winners of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, the Edgars will receive 100 hours use of a John Deere tractor.

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As state winners of the 2013 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation YF&R Achievement Award, Matt and Carrie were recognized for their farming innovations, leadership skills and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community. In January, they represented Mississippi in national competition at the 2014 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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As state winners of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, the Edgars received 250 hours use of a Kubota tractor. Making the presentation are Cheri Parker and Kelly Wilder of Kubota Tractor.

Legacy Will Continue In conclusion, the Edgars say they are grateful they can raise their sons, Adam, 6, and Wyatt, 3, on a farm. They try to instill in them an appreciation for farm life and an understanding that what is grown on the farm supplies their family and other people with food. Matt says his boys are definitely future farmers. They love country life and like nothing better than to “help” around the farm. The family’s farming legacy, it seems, will continue well into the future.

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TEACHING PEOPLE TO

APPRECIATE

summers helping her grandparents and other relatives work large vegetable gardens. She also learned how to freeze, can and dry the bounty from those gardens. The Nevins’ experiences, both past and present, have engendered within them a deep and abiding appreciation for agriculture. “We feel that our farm and our efforts to teach people to appreciate and support farmers is the most important thing we do,” Kate said. “It is certainly the most rewarding.” If more folks were as passionate about agriculture as Reid and Kate Nevins of Hamilton, our industry would be all the stronger for it. The Nevins spend a great deal of their time teaching people to appreciate and support what farmers do for all of us every single day. Reid is the director of the Lowndes County Extension Office in Columbus, and Kate works at a local bank. The Nevins also have a small produce farm in Monroe County, where they welcome schoolchildren and adults who want to learn how their food is grown, from seed to harvest. Their farm serves as an outdoor classroom of sorts, and there is no charge for a visit. Reid and Kate, who also have honey bees for their pumpkins, sell vegetables and honey at area farmers markets. In addition, visitors to their farm may purchase a pumpkin or watermelon in season. The Nevins have an honor box for when they are not at home. Reid and Kate say you would be hard-pressed to find store-bought food in their home. Most of what they eat is grown, harvested and preserved right there on the farm. In season, they have help with the labor from family members and high school students.

Telling the Farmer’s Story

AGRICULTURE

Reid grew up on a farm surrounded by family farmers, but Kate is a city girl who spent her

“I do programs in schools, and I am amazed when the kids don’t know where their food comes from,” Reid said. “We also teach the customers who visit our farmers market booth, and I do a program for schoolchildren at the Pizza Farm in Verona. In addition, we have had a portable Pizza Farm out here on our farm, and the kids loved it. They get fired up about agriculture, and they learn.” The Nevins say today’s consumers must be made more aware of agriculture so that in the future, when issues arise that impact farmers, they will lend their support. “Agriculture is our state’s number-one industry, and we must keep it strong,” Reid said. “Our nation must be able to feed itself. We must remain sustainable,” Kate added. “We can’t depend on other countries for our food.”

Gardens Reid says he is noticing a trend toward people putting in their own gardens, including community gardens, where neighbors chip in for labor and input costs then share what the garden produces. “I’m working with Palmer Home in Columbus. They already have greenhouses where they grow flowers and plants, which they sell at farmers markets,” he said. “Now, they are interested in having a community vegetable garden where the people who live on the

grounds can share input costs and labor as well as what is grown there. “They’ve visited a nice community garden in South Mississippi. I set that up, and I’m helping with their game plan.” Reid also helps farmers with issues or questions they might have about their agritourism businesses. One day in the future, he and Kate would like to offer some type of agritourism endeavor on their own farm. “I help other people cut corn mazes,” Reid said. “I’d like to have one myself eventually. I’d also like to grow more sweet corn, pumpkins and watermelons.” In addition, the Nevins would like to someday have a small row crop operation. Reid says it would not only help him with his Extension work, it would give their 8-month-old son, Eli, a hands-on experience with farming.

Excellence in Agriculture The Nevins are the state winners of the 2013 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Excellence in Agriculture Award. The Excellence in Agriculture Award is presented to those YF&R members who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture. Ideal candidates do not have the majority of their income subject to normal production risk. Reid and Kate represented Mississippi in the national contest held at the 2014 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. For more information about the MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Program, contact YF&R Coordinator Kirsten Johnson at (601) 977-4277.

Reid sits as an advisor on the Lowndes County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He serves on planning committees and volunteers for county Farm Bureau events. Reid is active with the MFBF peanuts and beef commodity advisory meetings. The Nevins are active in other local and state agricultural organizations as well as in their community. Reid received the Achievement Award from the Mississippi Association of Agricultural Agents

BY GLYNDA PHILLIPS

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Small Business Saturday, Storybook Christmas Parade, Shop by Candlelight and the Christmas pilgrimage. The local theater group is active and presents productions from time to time.

S lve the Mystery

For more information, call (601) 799-3070.

Lots of the businesses in this city are family owned. One of the biggest is Paul Bounds, a feed store/nursery. Mickle’s Pickles is popular nationwide. Paul’s Pastry Shop is a worldwide business that specializes in cream cheese and fruit-filled king cakes as well as delectable baked goods and pastries. Our mystery city is home to WRJW radio station and a daily newspaper (which bears the name of the city).

Our mystery city boasts a great police department and three fire departments with a strong Class 6 fire rating. Fire Chief Keith Brown was named 2011 Fire Chief of the Year for Mississippi by the Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Association. He serves as director of the Southeastern Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. This city is home to Highland Community Hospital, affiliated with Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, and the renowned Crosby Arboretum, administered by Mississippi State University. The arboretum teaches people about the environment.

Our mystery city, named for a Spanish coin, is the largest city in Pearl River County. Chartered as a township in 1904, it grew up around the railroad and logging industries. At one time, it was home to 14 railroad tracks and some of the largest sawmills in the nation. Tung oil was also big back in those early years. Our mystery city boasted the original Crosby Chemical, which made varnishes from tung oil. Back then, the area grew thousands of acres of tung oil trees.

In our mystery city, you will find the Margaret Reed Crosby Library, which serves as the headquarters library for the Pearl River County Library System. You will also find the Lower Pearl River Valley Transportation Museum, which is designed to provide future generations with a sense of history and education in the way early residents traveled and worked. This city is home to Friendship Park and Boley Creek as well as a Bed and Breakfast located in the historic Henry Smith House. Our mystery city is working with the Main Street Association to attract more businesses to the downtown area. It has adopted a

This city has been called, “A precious coin in the purse of the South.”

Of historical significance are City Hall, the Hermitage and a number of churches. The Anglican Church is the city’s oldest church. Built from an outpost started by Moses Cook, a member of Andrew Jackson’s army, the Hermitage was constructed by Leonard Kimball, a successful businessman and uncle of Eliza Jane Nicholson, who named the city. Eliza owned the local newspaper and was the first woman publisher of a major daily newspaper in the United States. She wrote under the name of Pearl Rivers.

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A special thanks to Mayor Ed Pinero and all of the other good folks who helped with this article.

Special events include the spring and fall street festivals, the Easter Egg Drop at the airport, Christmas on the Rails, Storybook Fest, Blues Q & Brew & Art Market, Backyard BBQ Challenge, Run with the Pigs 5K Run, National

Correct Guesses Mail guesses to: Solve the Mystery Mississippi Farm Country P. O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215 You may also email your guesses to: FarmCountry@MSFB.org Please remember to include your name and address on the entry.

In the industrial park, you will find a tire manufacturer who makes ballast for the military; two polymer companies; St. Tammany Box manufacturers; an organic cleaning materials manufacturer who markets worldwide; and Farmer Fresh, a produce distributor.

Today, our mystery city is home to a close, caring community of 12,600 citizens. The Stennis Space Center is located only 10 miles south of town, and Amtrak stops by twice a day. The city is 45 miles from New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg. It is located close to four ports and has easy access to I-59, I-10 and I-12.

The downtown boasts great restaurants, including Stonewall’s BBQ, Southern Char Steak House, Crescent Cafe and Krumbs. It

Name our mystery city.

This city recently purchased the 1952 Crosby Hospital with plans to tear it down and create a green space in the downtown area, where walking tracks and an amphitheater will be built. Ornate street signs have been installed for two city blocks on Canal Street and Goodyear Boulevard. Attractive pavers will be used for a parking lot in front of City Hall. The city is updating its infrastructure, especially the gas and water pipes.

The Crosby family, who owned lumber mills and tung oil businesses, also occupied the Hermitage at one time.

Read the clues and make your guess.

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beautification program, which uses flowers and plants grown by students involved in the horticulture programs in the county high schools. Van Zyverden has contributed 14,000 bulbs to the beautification effort.

Our mystery city has a 12-foot-tall Frostop Mug. In 1951, the mug was located in front of a local restaurant. It was officially unveiled the night of the Christmas Parade as it rode atop a float. A platform will eventually be built to display it. There are very few of these mugs left.

is home to Crystal Gallery, Glass Porch and April’s Art Studio, stores that sell home and outdoor furniture, unique gifts, jewelry and candies. The stores also have seasonal displays that attract tourists from miles around. Our mystery city is the home of “Whitman’s Christmas Village,” with an Internet site www.etsy.com/shop/marieantoinette.

Visit our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation website at www.msfb.org. When all correct guesses have been received, we will randomly draw 20 names. These 20 names will receive a prize and will be placed in the hat twice. At the end of the year, a winner will be drawn from all correct submissions.

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The winner will receive a Weekend Bed and Breakfast Trip, courtesy of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. Families may submit only one entry. Federation staff members and their families are ineligible to participate in this contest. The deadline for submitting your entry is March 31.

January/February

The correct answer for the January/February Solve the Mystery is Taylorsville.

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Sam

Strolling.

Scott

RETIRES

IN PRAISE OF PORCHES

BY SAM E. SCOTT Our esteemed editor has kindly allowed me to continue to write after my retirement as general counsel. I am pleased to be able to stay in touch with you. The new name, “Strolling,” is not original to me but was in the Memphis evening newspaper, long since disappeared but well remembered. Furthermore, today we no longer stroll; we rush in what one pundit called “a panting world.” In this column, we will stroll to any number of places. We might go down memory lane, to the stables where my granddaughter rides, to some historic sites, to the corner grocery (few as they are) or wherever the mood takes us but never rushing, dashing or scrambling. Porches are a great respite from today’s hurlyburly life and a haven for conversation, which is also slowly dying in a digital society, along with many other family values or virtues. I love porches of all kinds – front, back, side, open, screened or glassed, not the least of which is a sleeping porch, definitely not in vogue today. My grandfather had one which occupied the short side of an L-shaped porch around his house. It was solid windows with a door

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opening to the long side of the porch. There was a small, simple bed with a bedside table and lamp with his Bible set thereon. There was a writing table and, in a corner, an upholstered reading chair with a gooseneck floor lamp. He was an omnivorous reader, and books were always stacked on his writing table. As in the rest of the house, the single overhead light hung from the high ceiling by a cord with a small lampshade around it.

gossip sometimes thrived and greetings were exchanged with anyone strolling by on the sidewalk, another unappreciated convenience today.

The temperature was regulated by how many windows were up in warmer weather and how much cover was on the bed in cooler weather. That worked wonderfully as a thermostat, and after his death in 1941, I loved to sleep there. Later, my grandmother put an electric fan there, and I learned the meaning of “oscillating.” It was a calm, quiet, simple and solitary place, good for sleeping, reading and thinking. For family or group conversations, there was the long, open front porch with a line of rocking chairs and a swing.

After World War II when air conditioning and television became common, many porches were “taken in” – glassed, walled or otherwise. Life began to move much faster and two-car garages replaced porches. Patios and decks were a nice innovation but not the same. More’s the pity!

A porch without a swing reminds me of what King George V said about shotguns without hammers: like a spaniel without ears. Many an hour did I spend in that swing with my grandmother, Mammaw, telling me stories that I still remember 70 years later. Many conversations, learned or not, transpired on porches, especially in the evenings when it was cooler. Radio programs were reviewed,

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Sam Scott, who has retired after many years of service as Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) general counsel, was honored with a reception and special presentation at state convention. “We appreciate Mr. Scott’s outstanding and devoted service to Farm Bureau, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said MFBF President Randy Knight. Scott is pictured with his wife, Carol, and Knight.

Weather, the war news, the crops, jobs, family stories and literature were common subjects and just as much a part of my young life as sitting on a Sears Roebuck catalog at the dining room table.

One “Strolling” story I will never forget involved an elderly maiden lady who sat on her porch shelling peas, cracking pecans, etc., minding her own business, and she did not like to be bothered. She put a sign in her front yard that said, “Keep out. Bad dog.” Someone wrote below that, “Worse Old Maid.” Undeterred, she put up a new sign: “The Dog is Dead, The Old Maid is nearly but still keep out!” A sad farewell to porches, swings and sidewalks.

But you can still stroll.

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Daniel must also be careful with how the seeds are dumped into wagons after they are harvested. The Texas-based company he grows for, Sesaco, doesn’t want the seeds scuffed. Delaney Seed in Clarksdale is where he takes the seeds to be transported to Texas. Daniel expects to harvest about 1,000 pounds of sesame seeds – or about 26 bushels – an acre this year, which is an average crop. About 1,200 to 1,500 pounds an acre is a very good harvest. Daniel estimates he had 1,200 pounds before the weather damaged the crop. BY GLYNDA PHILLIPS On a chilly, windy morning in mid-October, Daniel Shannon is busy harvesting the remainder of his 315-acre sesame crop. A heavy rainstorm is expected that night, and he wants to be finished well before it arrives. “I’ve already lost some of this crop to 50-milean-hour straight-line winds,” he said. “I’m going to harvest the rest of it now and just get what I can get.”

Growing Sesame In recent years, a number of Mississippi farmers have begun growing sesame, a high-cash crop that is relatively inexpensive to grow and has virtually no disease, grass or insect problems. One of the biggest challenges with growing sesame is that it doesn’t like a lot of water. It especially doesn’t like to stand in water. Too much wet weather can be extremely problematic.

This was Daniel’s first year to grow sesame, and he is trying to decide whether he will grow it again in 2014. He will take into consideration that the weather has been unusually windy and wet this fall for his area of the state.

What is Sesame? Sesame is one of the world’s oldest known oilseed crops. The seeds are valued for their oil and the high protein content of the meal. Mature sesame plants stand about three to five feet tall and have tubular yellow flowers. The fruit of the plant consists of small sturdy pods that range down the length of the stalks. When the sesame seeds are ready to be harvested, the pods crack open. Inside are dozens of tiny flat oval seeds. Sesame has a long root system that makes it ideally suited for an arid environment. It is native to Asia and Africa, and in 2010, was primarily grown in Burma, China and India.

In the United States, Texas is the largest sesame-producing state. “I added the sesame to my soybeans, rice, wheat and milo,” said Daniel, who is the son of Nolan Canon, well known in our state and nation for his contributions to the rice industry. “I planted it behind my wheat because its roots are deep, and that helps break up some of the hard pan.”

Five Generations This is Daniel’s twentieth harvest season. As a fifth-generation farmer, he appreciates being able to raise his kids on a farm. Daniel and his wife, Nicole, have two boys, Nolan, 5, and Nicholas, 15 months. Daniel is president of Tunica County Farm Bureau and is proud of his affiliation with Farm Bureau. He says it is good for U.S. farmers. “I like the way that Farm Bureau operates,” he said. “I know that it is looking out for us on the state and national levels. Farmers are such a minority now and what we do is so important to the country that we need the strong voice that Farm Bureau provides. I don’t think the average person realizes what goes into producing their food and fiber.” Farm Bureau appreciates farmers like Daniel Shannon who work hard to keep our state and nation’s agricultural industry strong and productive.

“We didn’t plan to store the seed, but we’ve had to hurry our harvest along because of high winds and rain,” Daniel said. The same combine headers used to harvest soybeans and rice are used to harvest sesame. Because the sesame seeds are so small, farmers have had to tape up their combines and grain bins to keep the seeds out of every little nook and cranny. Daniel says he also put down mesh on the floors of his grain bins. Sesame seeds are generally harvested as dry as possible and stored at 6 percent moisture or less. If the seed is too moist, it can quickly heat up and become rancid.

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BY GLYNDA PHILLIPS Burton’s Sugar Farm is open for business outings, reunions and so forth. If you use the farm for a special event, you must also use the restaurant. A minimum of 50 to 60 people are required for the restaurant to open. Burton’s Sugar Farm hosted the Mississippi Agritourism Association’s fall meeting. Alfred is a past president of the organization, and Burton’s Sugar Farm was one of our state’s first agritourism operations.

Some History

Alfred and Jeannie Burton of Burton’s Sugar Farm in Michigan City deeply appreciate Mississippi agriculture, especially its history. Once upon a time, their former working farm in Benton County produced row crops and beef cattle. Today, it simply offers visitors an opportunity to learn how people farmed back in those long-ago good old days. Here, you will find authentic turn-of-the-century grist and sorghum mills and an old-timey blacksmith shop. A fun day of making sorghum on the first Saturday in October is a great time for visitors to see what the farm has to offer.

Why are the words “sugar farm” used in the name of this farm? A large portion of the farm is family land. Alfred’s grandfather came over from Arkansas and began farming in Benton County in 1879. The grist mill belonged to him. But in the early 1970s, the Burtons acquired some additional land from a neighbor.

“We don’t do field trips anymore. We don’t have the tractor pulls or the antique tractor shows. What we do have is a special day when I make sorghum and folks can visit and watch. Sometimes, our friends also demonstrate cornmeal grinding and broom making. We also had a little pumpkin patch this year. We have a train, and everybody wanted to ride the train this year, “Our draw is that we have a good atmosphere,” he said. “With the restaurant, we offer a playground so parents don’t have to worry about their kids while they’re eating and visiting with their neighbors. Their children are safe. “About 90 percent of our advertising is word of mouth, and I like our customers. They’re good people.”

Come See Us

“Our neighbor always called his land his little sugar farm,” Alfred said. “After we bought it, he would always ask us, ‘How’s the sugar farm doing?’ When we began our agritourism business, we were looking for a catchy name, and that’s how Burton’s Sugar Farm was born.

Restaurant customers and other visitors are mainly from the Memphis and Collierville, Tennessee, areas as well as from the North Mississippi towns of Ashland, Southhaven, Senatobia and Olive Branch. However, Alfred says he’s had people from other states stop by as they traveled through North Mississippi.

“We have gone down different avenues with Burton’s Sugar Farm and finally trimmed it down to what works best for us,” he said.

For more information, visit www.burtonsugarfarm.com. You may also call (662) 224-8212.

From the last week in April to the last week in October, every Friday and Saturday night, you can dine at Catfish in the Barn, which many locals are calling one of the best catfish restaurants in their area of the state.

Catfish in the Barn “We usually average about 200 to 300 customers every weekend the restaurant is open,” Alfred said. “Catfish is the specialty, but we have some 20 to 25 items on the food bar. We get locally grown fresh veggies and strawberries in season from Brooks Brownlee of Brownlee Farms in Red Bank; sweet potatoes from Sandy Ridge Sweet Potato Farm in Senatobia; and farm-raised catfish from Pride of the Pond in Tunica, exclusively. Franklin Stanford cooks for us, and he is fantastic.”

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The students cook with a continuous flow evaporator heated by a furnace that is fueled by a wood fire. Their cooking technique was taught by their instructors with input from Terry Norwood of Etta, a Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation regional manager who says he learned to cook sorghum syrup many years ago from a family friend, David Crawford, with input from his grandfather and great-uncle.

It is the coldest day of fall so far, a bright, windy morning in mid-November that lends atmosphere to the activities out behind the Ag Department on the campus of Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead. In the midst of the chilly wind and the billowing white smoke, students are cooking sorghum syrup the old-fashioned way under the watchful eyes of their instructors. The exercise is meant to connect these young men and women with a past that must seem ancient to them in our rapidly-changing high-tech world. But they seem excited and more than eager to learn.

BY GLYNDA PHILLIPS

Over on the sidelines, an antique John Deere tractor is cranked up, and bundles of harvested sweet sorghum canes are sent through a mill press to make juice. The sorghum is grown in the bottom of a former catfish pond from seeds purchased from Mississippi Foundation Seed Stocks, a unit of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State University. It is harvested with a 100-year-old corn binder.

The cooking trays, purchased from a retired Carroll County syrup cooker named Henderson Campbell, are divided into sections to control the temperature of the juice so the syrup doesn’t easily burn. The students use longhandled wooden skimmers to skim away coagulated sugars and impurities from the top of the bubbly liquid as it heads toward becoming the delicious syrup we all love to eat with our homemade biscuits. It is clear that cooking sorghum syrup takes skill. “The bubbles are telling me this is almost ready. Now, we begin pouring,” shouts Steele Robbins, an instructor with the college’s Precision Agriculture program. The stopper is pulled and a river of syrup empties out of the trays, filtering through a square of white cheesecloth into a bucket. The cloth is meant to take away any remaining impurities. We are allowed to stick a finger into the syrup that remains on the spigot, and it is good. The mayor of Moorhead stops by, and he tries it, too. He smiles. This is the second year of syrup cooking but the third year of growing the sorghum. The college kids have traditionally used their syrup to make treats for tailgate parties, but this year, they also plan to sell syrup to raise money for their ag club. “All of us older teachers remember eating this kind of syrup when we were growing up on farms, and it doesn’t compare with most of what you find in grocery stores today,” said Steele.“We thought this would be a good exercise to integrate history into our ag programs here at Mississippi Delta Community College.” Besides Precision Agriculture, which is taught by Steele, the college offers Field Crops Technology, taught by Barry Corley. Ag students from both programs participate in the sorghum-growing and syrup-cooking efforts. Students from the Construction Equipment

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Photo from Mississippi Delta Community College MARCH/APRIL

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Operations and Brick, Block and Stone Masonry programs, under the supervision of Steve Poole and Clarence Steelman, were instrumental in this cross-curricular project by constructing the high-heat furnace used in the cooking process. John Ammons with the Biology Program brings his students around to test the sugar content of the syrup. The Art Program has its students recording the event through photographs and video. This syrup-making process will go on throughout the day as the students and instructors cook about 13 to 15 gallons of syrup. They plan to cook a second day and maybe a third, depending on the supply of sorghum canes and the weather. The students grow about 2 ½ acres of sorghum. Hopefully, these Mississippi Delta Community College students will come away from this exercise with not only a practical knowledge of how to make sorghum syrup but a deeper appreciation for Mississippi agriculture. “Most of our students are generations removed from farm life, and today’s farms are far different from those self-contained farms of the early- to mid-20th century,” said Corley. “We want to connect these kids with that history and with a dying art that we are trying to keep alive.”

Photo from Mississippi Delta Community College

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STATE 2013 CONVENTION Rep. Bill Pigott received the 2013 Friend of Agriculture Award. Rep. Pigott, who serves as the vice chair of the House Ag Committee, is pictured with his family.

The Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) silent and live auctions helped raise funds for the YF&R Scholarship Foundation.

The Women’s Outstanding Achievement Awards for 2013 went to DeSoto County Information, Organization and Government Relations; Jackson County - Youth Safety Volunteer; Marion County - Community Service; and Leflore County - Ag in the Classroom.

The 2013 Ag Ambassador Award was presented to Nelda Starks and Julie White, the women’s chair and women’s vice chair for Oktibbeha County Farm Bureau. They are pictured with MFBF President Randy Knight.

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith received the 2013 Distinguished Service Award. She is pictured with MFBF President Randy Knight.

Reid and Kate Nevins, state winners of the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award, received a zero-turn mower, compliments of Southern Ag Credit. Finalists in this competition received Yeti coolers, compliments of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance Sales Department. Pictured with the Nevins is Joe Mallard of Southern Ag Credit.

Marion County Farm Bureau received the Mike Blankenship Safety Award for South Mississippi.

Dolores and Steve Fratesi of Lauren Farms in Leland presented a cooking demonstration using freshwater prawns and farm-raised catfish.

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The MFBF Women’s Program was successful again this year with their General Store. Pictured shopping is Monroe County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair Nita Jackson.

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Sen. Russell Jolly received the 2013 Friend of Agriculture Award. Sen. Jolly, who serves as the vice chair of the Senate Ag Committee, is pictured with his family.

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Outstanding county Farm Bureau women’s programs include Region 1 - Panola; Region 2 - Union; Region 3 - Simpson; Region 4 -Montgomery; Region 5 - Amite; Region 6 - Lauderdale; Region 7 Stone; and Region 8 - Carroll.

Rita Seward of Jackson County received the first-ever Farm Woman of the Year Award. She is pictured with State Women’s Committee Chair Betty Mills and MFBF President Randy Knight.

Stone County Farm Bureau received the President’s Award for best overall county program. Pictured are J.B. Brown, president, and Dawn Montgomery, membership secretary.

Convention keynote speaker Baxter Black is pictured with state board member Louis Breaux IV.

First District Congressman Alan Nunnelee addressed convention attendees. He is pictured with MFBF President Randy Knight.

Patrick Henry Hughes was the special speaker and musician for the Sunday morning worship service. He is pictured with his father.

A Mississippi Pennies donation in the amount of $5,000 was presented to the WINGS (Women in Need of God’s Shelter) Domestic Violence Center. Pictured with the State Women’s Committee are Joyce Farmer, WINGS vice president, and Jean Spring, WINGS executive director.

Third District Congressman Gregg Harper attended the Sunday morning worship service. He is pictured with MFBF President Randy Knight.

Outstanding county Farm Bureau programs include Region 1 - DeSoto; Region 2 - Itawamba; Region 3 - Montgomery; Region 4 - Monroe; Region 5 - Rankin; Region 6 - Covington; Region 7 - Walthall; and Region 8 - Stone.

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Betty Mills and Shelby Williams were re-elected to serve as State Women’s Committee chair and vice chair, respectively. Reelected regional women’s chairs include Region 2 - Kay Perkins, Tishomingo County (not pictured); Region 4 - Jody Bailey, Yalobusha County; Region 6 - Joan Thompson, Neshoba County; and Region 8 - Wanda Hill, Humphreys County.

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Panola County Farm Bureau received the Mike Blankenship Safety Award for North Mississippi.

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2014

FARM BUREAU AMBASSADOR & ALTERNATE

Toys and gifts were presented to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson. Pictured with Child Life Coordinator Dr. Tishawn Thames are members of the State Women’s Committee. These donations go to kids who are in the hospital at Christmas and are collected by volunteer leaders across the state.

Monroe County Farm Bureau was the recipient of the 2013 Agricultural Display Award. Pictured are Herbert Word, president, Sharon Odom, membership secretary, and Rita Sargent and Marianne Butler, secretaries.

Forrest County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair Melleen Moore was honored upon her retirement after many years of devoted service to the Women’s Program. Newton County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair Jeannie Leach (not pictured) was also honored upon her retirement.

Robert Naron of Bolivar County received the 2013 Excellence in Leadership Award. He is pictured with his family.

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Collin Ray Hutcheson of Lee County is the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Farm Bureau Ambassador for 2014. He will serve as a spokesperson for Farm Bureau and agriculture during the coming year. The alternate is Joanna Lee King of Yazoo County. Collin receives a $2,000 scholarship, and Joanna receives a $1,000 scholarship. The contest is sponsored annually by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Program. Also pictured are MFBF President Randy Knight and State Women’s Committee Chair Betty Mills.

Smith County was one of two recipients of the Mike Blankenship Safety Award for Central Mississippi.

Neshoba County Farm Bureau was one of two recipients of the Mike Blankenship Safety Award for Central Mississippi.

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BLOODWORTH NAMED GENERAL COUNSEL Kent M. Bloodworth has been named general counsel for the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF). He previously served as the organization’s assistant general counsel. Kent is a graduate of Mississippi State University, with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in weed science. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Mississippi College School of Law. Before joining the MFBF staff, Kent used his agricultural background for six years as an associate attorney with Husch Blackwell LLP in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Calendar of Events March 4 March 15

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Teacher of the Year Deadline

April 10

Magnolia Beef and Poultry Expo, Raleigh

April 11-13

Super Bulldog Weekend, MSU

April 22-23

Secretaries’ Conference Jackson

April 25

Women’s Leadership Conference, Jackson

May 15

Deadline for Teacher/Volunteer AITC Workshops

June 1

Scholarships Deadline

June 10-12

Teacher/Volunteer AITC Workshops, Hernando, Cleveland, Hattiesburg

July 28-31

Youth Safety Seminar Gray Center Canton

August 1

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MFBF Ag Day at the Capitol, Jackson

FB Ambassador & Farm Woman of Year Deadline

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Mississippi Farm Country - March/April