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Have you heard? about the many benefits of your Farm Bureau membership? You may not know that when you pay your annual membership fee, it includes many valuable member benefits. Highlighted below are a few of these benefits. To see a complete list, visit our Web site at Take advantage of the benefits available to Farm Bureau members ONLY. If you are not a member, joining is simple. Contact the Farm Bureau office in the county where you live, pay your membership dues, and start enjoying these benefits today! For more information, contact Member Benefits Coordinator Dedra Luke at 1.800.227.8244, ext. 4169. ® IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION In 2008, identity theft cost Americans over $48 billion (Source: Javelin Strategy and Research. “2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report.” February 2009).

Farm Bureau has partnered with LifeLock, the industry leader in identity theft protection, to offer our members a discount when signing up for LifeLock’s identity theft protection service. LifeLock works to stop identity theft before it happens – even if your information falls into the wrong hands. As a LifeLock member, if you become a victim of identity theft because of a failure in LifeLock® service, they’ll help you fix it at their expense, up to $1,000,000 (Restrictions apply. See for details.). This extensive system provides early notification whenever LifeLock detects your personal information being used to apply for many forms of credit and non-credit. It helps you replace the contents of a lost or stolen wallet (pictures, cash and other monies excluded) and LifeLock reduces credit card offers by requesting that your name be removed from these mailing lists. This is a great offer that will save members 10% off the regular cost of LifeLock protection. Call 800-LIFELOCK or visit and use promocode MSFB.

THEFT REWARD PROGRAM Members can offer a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing theft, arson or vandalism against their property.

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MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY Volume 86 Number 1 January/February 2010




EDITOR Glynda Phillips

THE FARMER’S STORY As the 2010 Session of the Mississippi Legislature draws near, it is critical that farmers and other supporters of state agriculture let their voices be heard. In this important issue of our magazine, Public Policy Director Samantha Cawthorn talks about ways farmers can effectively tell their story to the consuming public. She also describes Farm Bureau’s policy development and implementation process. In addition, we visit Jones County beef cattle farmer Larry Jefcoat, a member of Farm Bureau’s speakers’ bureau. Jefcoat enjoys telling agriculture’s story, especially since the average American is now three generations removed from farm life. In that vein, we also feature two agritourism businesses, where family farmers are teaching young people to appreciate agriculture. These entrepreneurs hope our state’s future leaders will carry with them a better understanding of Mississippi agriculture as well as wonderful memories of their time “down on the farm.” And finally, MFBF President David Waide talks about the crop devastation farmers experienced this fall as a result of extreme weather conditions. Come with us as we learn the importance of telling “The Farmer’s Story.”

Departments 2

Member Benefits


President’s Message


Commodity Update: Swine


Commodity Update: Poultry


Graphic Arts Coordinator Danielle Ginn Department Assistant Angela Thompson


President - David Waide Vice President - Donald Gant Vice President - Randy Knight Vice President - Reggie Magee Treasurer - Billy Davis Corporate Secretary - Ilene Sumrall

FARM BUREAU DIRECTORS Dr. Jim Perkins, Iuka Kevin Simpson, Ashland B.A. Teague, New Albany Bill Ryan Tabb, Cleveland Coley L. Bailey, Jr., Coffeeville Dan L. Bishop, Baldwyn Jeffrey R. Tabb, Walthall Doss Brodnax, Starkville Wanda Hill, Isola Weldon Harris, Kosciusko William Jones, Meridian Max Anderson, Decatur Stanley Williams, Mt. Olive Mark Chaney, Vicksburg Moody Davis, Brookhaven Bill Pigott, Tylertown D.P. O’Quinn, Purvis Wendell Gavin, Laurel Clifton Hicks, Leakesville Tom Daniels, Gulfport Betty Mills, Winona Clint Russell, Cleveland

HONORARY VICE-PRESIDENTS Louis J. Breaux, David H. Bennett, and Warren Oakley Mississippi Farm Country (ISSN 1529-9600) magazine is published bimonthly by the *Mississippi Farm Bureau® Federation. EDITORIAL AND BUSINESS OFFICES 6311 Ridgewood Road Jackson, MS 39211 TELEPHONE 601.977.4153

Counselor’s Corner

ADVERTISING Call Paul Hurst at 1.800.397.8908 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.

ABOUT THE COVER Larry and Lance Jefcoat know it’s important to teach the consuming public to appreciate agriculture. In this issue, they take us through their Jones County beef cattle operation. (Lance is also a Laurel veterinarian.) Read their story, beginning on page 8.



*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. 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.



Rain Turned Promising Crop into Nightmare By David Waide • President, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation


he times we are in have proven to be extremely hard on agriculture. We are seeing a deterioration in our overall economic situation in Mississippi that we in agriculture had hoped could be prevented. We truly believed that this year would have been a record crop for Mississippi farmers. Early on in the year, all the indicators were that it was going to be a bin-busting crop. However, the turn of events since August created a true nightmare for those in production agriculture. It caused a feeling of utter helplessness. The enormous amounts of rain that fell in many parts of the state where our agronomic crops are grown caused what had been a most promising yield to deteriorate into a salvage operation. Unfortunately, the damage was not limited to any single commodity. When a crop matures, it cannot stand much adverse weather. The prolonged rainfall we had since August 15 and the huge amount that fell created a situation that is going to make it most challenging for producers to make a comeback. This year has seen more excessiveness than any year I can remember in my more than 40 years in agriculture. Farmers are a resilient breed, but this is something that has deflated much optimism and, I am sure, will have a long-term effect on the many producers who depend on earning their livelihood from agriculture. I know the consuming public often believes their food simply appears on the grocery store shelf at a most reasonable price. The bounty of affordable food has been taken for granted over the years of abundance we have enjoyed in these United States, but the food we find in our grocery stores does not just appear. It takes much hard work, long hours, and laboring under


extreme conditions for that food to be produced, processed, and made consumerready. How is agriculture different from many other occupations? The main reason is that, in the spring, most producers secure what is known as a production loan. This borrowed money is utilized to buy the fuel, seed, fertilizer, chemicals, and any other related input costs. It is used to pay the labor that goes into producing their commodity. When the lending authority agrees to loan a farmer the amount of money he needs to produce a commodity, there are no guarantees. We do have risk management insurance products that cover up to 85 percent of the commodity. But that is somewhat of a misnomer. In the first place, the products that have been designed for the South are not very competitive as compared to those designed for our counterparts in other areas. It is much more costly to buy crop insurance in the Southern states than it is in other parts of the country for a similar yield. I am sure that there is some basis in the actuarial science that goes into determining the price per unit for those guaranteed levels of production. Still, it is not as competitive as many of our counterparts. This problem does need to be addressed. There are other obstacles with risk management products that I hope we can confront to make those products more affordable and better suited to Southern agriculture. That is a challenge that we as an organization will take on and, hopefully, be successful. However, it will take more than next season’s production to get it accomplished, and we do need to address the immediate problem. Farmers elect different levels of protection


in buying crop insurance. From catastrophic coverage that is a very low coverage to coverage up to the 85 percent level, these need to be reevaluated for Southeastern crops. Also, we need products that will offer protection to crops that are currently not covered. One thing that I think needs to be addressed by risk management products is the coverage levels that are offered to Southern agriculture. Those coverage levels need to include an update on the producer’s actual proven yields. The actual proven yields need to take into account the new technology and the new seed germplasm available to producers. Those increasing yields offer much better potential for higher crop yields but also incur a tremendously higher cost of production. The risk management products available need to reflect the technological advances in seed germplasm as well as in the genetically modified organism that has been introduced in our new seed technology. All in all, we have a tremendous challenge in agriculture for the future as relates to certain things that do provide coverage for protection of the growers in the event of a catastrophic occurrence such as this year. While we will continue to work on this, it will be necessary for us to have producer support to be able to accomplish the objectives set forth. It will also be important for the consumer to understand that it is their food and fiber sources that the farmer is producing, and this needs to be produced in a method that can offer protection to the producer as well as food security for the consumers of the United States.



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ver since the first humans built a fire in their dark cave, people have realized the importance of proper indoor lighting. But ever since Edison invented the light bulb, lighting technology has, unfortunately, remained relatively prehistoric.


Jim Blissard


Samantha Webb

State Swine Industry Challenges By: Jim Blissard, MFBF Swine Advisory Committee Chair Samantha Webb, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Swine

Over the past few years, Mississippi’s pork industry has been faced with numerous challenges that have made it difficult to be a pork producer in our state. Hog farmers have had to work diligently to keep up with the volatile changes in the market and have had to exercise flexibility to help them to adapt. From the closing of Bryan Foods in West Point back in 2007 to the more recent misnomer of the novel H1N1 Influenza as “Swine Flu,” swine farmers have had their work cut out for them while simultaneously trying to maintain their livelihoods and produce the pork products that help feed our nation and the world. MARKETS & COSTS Regardless of whether a swine producer is an independent producer or a contract grower, the general consensus is that there are a very limited number of market outlets for pork here in our state. While a small number of local, hometown meat processors remain in business in various towns across Mississippi, these processors are not large enough to handle the capacity of our state’s approximately 430 producers. This has made it difficult for pork producers to sell their product without incurring the added cost of transporting hogs to slaughter facilities in other states. The hogs produced by contract growers are currently either being grown for replacement breeding stock or are only being grown from wean to 70 pounds before being shipped to other states to be finished out. A large number of independent producers sell a considerable portion of their hogs to individual consumers because this has proven to be more cost efficient than transporting the hogs to a larger market. At the same time, the high cost of feed and other inputs that pork producers have been confronted with over the past couple of years has only added to the burden of trying to remain viable in a market where hog prices are much lower than the actual cost of production. With the cost and benefit scale so unbalanced, many producers are trying to maintain their swine operations at the break-even point until positive changes in the market make the industry more profitable. Another potential matter of concern for our state’s swine farmers is the fact that animal rights movements have impacted the swine industry in other states by leading to the banning of gestation stalls and other sound animal husbandry practices. The threat of similar consequences happening in Mississippi has pork producers constantly on their toes to ensure that the public


knows they do everything possible to employ production practices that are based upon sound science – research that is conducted accurately from accredited institutions – on a consistent basis. Farmers know better than anyone that healthy animals mean safe and healthy food for all consumers. H1N1 INFLUENZA The most recent challenge that swine producers have had to battle is the invalid mislabeling of the novel H1N1 Influenza as “Swine Flu.” This misnomer frightened many consumers here in America and in other nations into falsely thinking that eating pork transmitted the flu. Because of this, there was a vast drop in market prices, and several of the top countries for U.S. pork exports banned Americanproduced pork. After working to educate both domestic and foreign consumers on the truth about H1N1, the sale and export of pork began to return to normal. People once again began buying pork products, and countries lifted their bans on U.S. pork exports. Nevertheless, the damage was done, and the swine industry is still working to recover. REMAINING POSITIVE It’s easy to see that the swine industry across the nation and in our state has been dealt some difficult blows, but one thing remains true – Mississippi’s producers have proven to be up for the challenge. They have worked to be resilient and have skillfully adapted to the changing industry. They have remained positive in searching for new market opportunities and have patiently paid higher input costs while waiting for the day when market prices will rebound to a point that will allow their businesses to become more profitable. They have been good stewards of their livestock and the land, engaging good, sound animal welfare practices on their farms. In addition, they have diligently encouraged their friends, neighbors, and local media outlets to aid the swine industry by calling the novel H1N1 Influenza by its proper name. In evaluating all of these things, the bottom line is that Mississippi’s swine producers plan to remain in business for the long road ahead. They may have been faced by overwhelming challenges during the past few years, but their outlook for the future remains bright.




Kyle Rhodes

Jack Alexander


Chickens, Children & Agriculture Kyle Rhodes, MFBF Poultry Advisory Committee Chair Jack Alexander, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Poultry

A farm is a great place to raise your kids. Not only does farm life teach children a good work ethic and a strong sense of responsibility, it stretches their imaginations and hones their creativity. Every morning that a child wakes up on a working family farm, he or she encounters a whole new world of possibilities. Especially if their parents are smart enough to present them with some beautiful Dominecker hens and one very loud old Dominecker rooster. Some friends of mine, who own an 8,000-acre row crop and beef cattle farm in Missouri, recently did just that. Their three children care for the black and white chickens and regularly gather their eggs. As the kids go about their daily chores, the hens follow them around like pets. Sometimes, the children chase the chickens. And sometimes the chickens chase them right back.

Shelby, Delaney and Dustin DOMINECKER BREED Domineckers (or Dominiques as they are also called) were the first breed of chickens in America and date back to our country’s earliest years. They are a calm, thrifty breed known for their good feed to egg conversion. Back in those early years, they were not only valued for their eggs and meat but for their feathers, which were used to stuff


featherbeds and pillows. Many of today's recognized breeds were developed using Dominecker bloodlines. Chickens have always been an essential part of any self-supporting family farm, especially here in the Deep South. Back in the good old days, they were easy to grow, a great source of protein and a special Sunday dinner treat for visiting preachers. STRONG AGRICULTURE I enjoyed my time in Missouri. Watching my friends’ kids interact with those Dominecker hens brought home to me once again the importance of agriculture to our great nation. Farming has helped shape America’s workforce and many of its leaders. It has contributed to local, state and national economies. It has fed us, clothed us and employed us, and it is now helping us make fuel. Visiting my Missouri friends also reminded me of how important it is that our domestic agriculture remain strong. We don’t ever want to depend upon another nation for our food supply. Hopefully, in the near future, we won’t need to depend quite so heavily on other nations for our fuel. There’s a movement among Americans to buy locally-grown food. Mississippi is one of several states reporting an increased number of small hobby farms. With animal agriculture under attack on many fronts by certain activist groups, and because we are now a nation many generations removed from agriculture, I’m hoping our population’s renewed interest in farm life will translate into a greater support for those issues that impact farmers in the Legislature and U.S. Congress. We must all work together to preserve our domestic agriculture. It is just that simple. It is just that essential. And can you believe it? I got all of this from watching three kids on a sunny August morning playing with a couple of Dominecker hens. The Missouri family farm mentioned here was just one stop on a recent Jasper County/Smith County Beef Cattle Tour of the Midwest.



FARMERS MUST TELL THEIR STORY By Samantha Cawthorn Director, MFBF Public Policy Department As farmers and citizens, we must do a better job of telling our own story. We must tell people how we feed the nation and why we are the most efficient country at producing food and fiber. We can not mind our own business while others influence policy around us. We have let other groups represent our interests for far too long without doing it ourselves. Most people are three generations removed from the farm. They only have vague memories, or, perhaps, an idealized picture of a farm. They don’t understand the realities of farm life – the day-to-day operations and struggles of producers – better than the producers themselves. So, farmers should take every opportunity afforded them to tell about these daily challenges they face to provide an abundant and affordable source of food for all Americans. It is better to maintain regular contact with your local and state political figures and neighbors than to only call on them when in a crisis. The more people understand your struggles, the quicker they can move into action to help in a time of crisis. TELLING YOUR STORY There are many methods and venues for farmers to positively publicize their stories locally and statewide, but it takes time, effort and training. According to the Center for Profitable Agriculture, a farmer can successfully generate positive publicity using the following strategies: • Write an article about your day-to-day operations or a special event at your farm and send it to a local newspaper or magazine. • Take the opportunity to speak at local functions, such as a Rotary Club meeting or a Boy Scout banquet. • Meet with your state legislators and U.S. congressmen to tell them about the issues you face in your business. • Host or sponsor a function at your business and include the media at the event. For example, invite a class from the local school to learn how food moves from the farm to the dinner table. • Write a blog which documents exciting events that arise on the farm and current legislative or regulatory issues facing your operation. • Take the lead on a community project or support a local charity. Each of these methods provides an effective way for farmers and ranchers to convey their positive message to the public and their state and national leaders. 8

Sylvia and Norman Clark take every opportunity given them to tell the farmer’s story, specifically through promotion of the sweet potato industry. Here they address legislators during Farm Bureau’s farm tour last summer.

FARM BUREAU HELPS Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation has put together a couple of new endeavors to help our producers convey to the public the true agricultural story. The first is the Agricultural Image Campaign, which will use different media outlets to show agriculture’s contributions to the state and its food supply. The second is the Agriculture Challenges Initiative, which helps producers get in touch with different civic clubs to schedule presentations about their family farm. These programs are designed to help farmers break the ice with certain groups and encourage them to tell their own story. Often, it only takes a visit by phone or an invitation to tour your farm to reshape a state or national leader’s view of agriculture, and these leaders find this communication most valuable when they hear concerns directly from the farmers themselves. PROACTIVE EFFORTS Proactively seeking opportunities for positive publicity, even at just the local and community level, will help to educate the public and our leaders about the efforts taken by Mississippi farmers to provide healthy, affordable food while also working to protect the environment and conserve energy. It is amazing how many people walk away from different events with a greater understanding of agriculture. From the Farm Bureausponsored farm tours that took place last summer, to the civic club presentations being conducted right now across the state, there is no better person to tell your story than yourself. If you do not tell your story to your legislator, church members, and others then someone else will tell it for you. And they might not tell the story accurately. We just have to look at what H1N1 has done to the swine industry to be reminded that others are quick to jump to conclusions. It’s your story, and Americans are listening. If you don’t tell it yourselves, someone else will.



2009 State Resolutions Meeting

A STRONG VOICE FOR AGRICULTURE State Resolutions Committee Chair Brad Woods

By Samantha Cawthorn Director, MFBF Public Policy Department

As a member of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, you help shape the laws that govern our state and nation. As a grassroots organization with approximately 209,000 members statewide, the policy that guides Farm Bureau’s efforts in the Mississippi Legislature and United States Congress begins on the county level. This issue of Mississippi Farm Country emphasizes the importance of farmers telling their story. One effective way of doing this is through a membership in an organization like the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. Our policy development and implementation process begins at the county level with people just like you. Here is how that process works.

Policy Development Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation policy is shaped through an extensive process that starts with recommendations from commodity advisory meetings, which are held during the summer each year. Next, policy development meetings are held and more policy recommendations come forth to be sent to the counties. Policy development meetings are held in the fall of each year in our eight regional districts across the state. Following the commodity advisory and policy development meetings, the county Farm Bureaus meet and vote on policy recommendations to be sent to the state office. Once the state office receives the recommendations, a Resolutions Committee meeting is held. Presidents from all 82 counties vote on the recommendations submitted from the counties. The recommendations that pass the committee are put forth to the delegate body at the state convention in early December. As a Farm Bureau member, you have the opportunity to get involved in the policy process and allow your voice to be heard. Every county within our state has a Farm Bureau county board that meets to discuss issues in their county. As a county Farm Bureau member, you can work with you county board to surface issues that need to be addressed.

Policy Implementation Policy that is developed and passed is placed in the “Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Policy Book.” The policy book guides Farm Bureau’s staff in legislation. Farm Bureau has a full-time lobbyist on staff to cover state and national issues. Through our association with the American Farm Bureau Federation, we also have a congressional lobby in Washington, D.C. Farm Bureau has been successful in protecting our members’ wishes and getting new legislation passed that our membership calls for. We are here to carry out the wishes of our membership. For more information, contact the MFBF Public Policy Department as follows:

Samantha Cawthorn Public Policy Director Office: 601.977.4020 JANUARY/FEBRUARY

Andy Whittington Environmental Programs Coordinator Office: 601.977.4238 M I S S I S S I P P I FA R M C O U N T RY

Angela Thompson Department Assistant Office: 601.977.4242 9


ones County beef cattle farmers Larry and Lance Jefcoat know that their livelihoods depend on healthy, well-cared for cows. “We manage our farm like a business. It’s too costly not to,” Larry said. “We use proven methods and the latest technology to raise our animals in a safe and healthy environment.” If the Jefcoats have a question that needs to be answered, the men consult the specialists at Mississippi State University and their local Extension Service. Over the years, the research, Extension and educational efforts of Mississippi’s land-grant universities have helped to positively shape the course of state agriculture. “We are partners with our cows,” Larry said. “They produce the calves that bring in the income, so we don’t ever want to mistreat them. We provide them with good grass, feed and water, and with a good vaccination and mineral program to keep them well and healthy. “Grass is the name of the game, but when the weather is dry or cold, you have to supplement grass with grain,” he said. “With stress and a lack of nourishment, the first thing that animals lose is reproduction, and in this kind of business, you can’t have that.” Comfort is also key. “The structures that house poultry and swine are built with the animals’ sense of wellbeing in mind,” said Lance, a Laurel veterinarian. “They are temperature-controlled and most are computerized. Likewise, cattle are well-tended. Our cattle are checked regularly to make sure they aren’t sick or off their feed.” “We restrain our animals when we vaccinate them for their own protection and the protection of our workers, but that’s for a short period of time,” Larry said. “The rest of the time, they have lots of space and freedom.”

Beef Quality Assurance Larry and Lance participate in the Beef Quality Assurance Program, a cooperative effort among beef cattle producers, veterinarians and professionals from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The program asks everyone involved with beef production to follow FDA/USDA/EPA guidelines for product use and to use common sense, good management skills and accepted scientific knowledge to avoid product defects at the consumer level. The Jefcoats also contribute to the Beef Checkoff Program, administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board under the United States Department of Agriculture. Checkoff dollars are used exclusively for beef safety, research, promotion and education efforts. “These types of programs help to keep our food safe,” said Larry, who is president of the Mississippi Beef Council, past president of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Association. “Farming is our livelihood. We will take care of our animals. That’s just a given.” 10



Growing Healthy, Quality

Beef Cattle By Glynda Phillips

Telling Your Story The Jefcoats say it’s important that farmers communicate with consumers about what they do. In 2009, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) initiated a speakers bureau through a program called Ag Challenges Initiative. This speakers bureau consists of farmers from across the state who address civic groups about agriculture and life on a working farm. Larry, who serves on the Jones County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, is a member of the MFBF Speakers Bureau and enjoys telling his story. “People are curious about farming,” he said. “They want to know how their food is grown and how it is processed. With recent threats by radical animal rights activists to change the way that we farm, we must speak up. We must get the message out that we care for our animals.” The men say it is important to join ag organizations who represent the best interests of farmers. “Most people probably don’t realize how powerful Farm Bureau can be (Continued on Page 12) JANUARY/FEBRUARY

“We are partners with our cows,” Larry said. “They produce the calves that bring in the income, so we don’t ever want to mistreat them. We provide them with good grass, feed and water, and with a good vaccination and mineral program to keep them well and healthy.”



Larry is pictured with granddaughters, Sara Kate, 3, Ella, 5, and Maryanna, 7. (Lance’s daughters.)

“It would be terrible to lose our domestic food supply to another country,” he said. “That would be especially tragic since we have the farmers, the technology and the land that can’t be used for anything but for grazing cattle.” 12

in the Mississippi Legislature,” Larry said. “Farm Bureau is very active in developing policy that benefits farmers, starting at the county level. “This policy is not something that is dreamed up,” he added. “It comes from real people with real concerns on the county level. And it doesn’t just deal with livestock but with all commodities. Farm Bureau is our state’s largest general farm organization.” In 2010, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation will initiate a statewide Agricultural Image Campaign designed to present the family farmer’s story through various media to consumers across the state. The Jefcoats encourage the public to watch for this campaign and to join with Farm Bureau in supporting family farmers, who produce the safest, most abundant food supply in the world. “We must stand together,” Larry said. “Being a part of the team is crucial for when important issues come along.” Lance agrees. “It would be terrible to lose our domestic food supply to another country,” he said. “That would be especially tragic since we have the farmers, the technology and the land that can’t be used for anything but for grazing cattle.” The Jefcoats say it is unrealistic for consumers to believe they could ever grow all of the food they need by themselves. “It’s too expensive and, besides, most people are generations removed from agriculture,” Lance said. “They wouldn’t know how.” “We raise our own beef for consumption every now and then, and that’s too costly for even us to do,” Larry added. “Because of mass production methods, Americans can buy meat, milk and eggs in grocery stores and at farmers markets a whole lot cheaper than they could ever grow these products themselves.”

Legislative Efforts The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation will address issues of importance to farmers and rural Mississippi during the 2010 Session of the Mississippi Legislature. If you want to show your support for state farmers, please let your voice be heard. For more information, contact our Public Policy Department at 1.800.227.8244, ext. 4020. FC M I S S I S S I P P I FA R M C O U N T RY


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boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 10 each) Salt

Seasoning: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel 3 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ teaspoon pepper

ϭ͘ ŽŵďŝŶĞ^ĞĂƐŽŶŝŶŐŝŶŐƌĞĚŝĞŶƚƐŝŶƐŵĂůůďŽǁů͖ƌĞƐĞƌǀĞϮƚĞĂƐƉŽŽŶƐĨŽƌŐĂƌŶŝƐŚ͘WƌĞƐƐƌĞŵĂŝŶŝŶŐ  seasoning evenly onto beef steaks. Ϯ͘ WůĂĐĞƐƚĞĂŬƐŽŶŐƌŝĚŽǀĞƌŵĞĚŝƵŵ͕ĂƐŚͲĐŽǀĞƌĞĚĐŽĂůƐ͘'ƌŝůů͕ƵŶĐŽǀĞƌĞĚ͕ϭϱƚŽϭϴŵŝŶƵƚĞƐ;ŽǀĞƌ  medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. ϯ͘ ĂƌǀĞƐƚĞĂŬƐŝŶƚŽƐůŝĐĞƐ͘^ƉƌŝŶŬůĞǁŝƚŚƌĞƐĞƌǀĞĚƐĞĂƐŽŶŝŶŐĂŶĚƐĂůƚ͕ĂƐĚĞƐŝƌĞĚ͘ dŽƚĂůZĞĐŝƉĞdŝŵĞ͗ϯϱƚŽϰϱŵŝŶƵƚĞƐͷDĂŬĞƐϰƐĞƌǀŝŶŐƐ EƵƚƌŝƟŽŶŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶƉĞƌƐĞƌǀŝŶŐ͗ϮϭϵĐĂůŽƌŝĞƐ͖ϵŐĨĂƚ;ϯŐƐĂƚƵƌĂƚĞĚĨĂƚ͖ϰŐŵŽŶŽƵŶƐĂƚƵƌĂƚĞĚĨĂƚͿ͖ϴϰŵŐĐŚŽůĞƐƚĞƌŽů͖ϲϰŵŐƐŽĚŝƵŵ͖ϭŐĐĂƌLJĚƌĂƚĞ͖ Ϭ͘ϰŐĮďĞƌ͖ϯϭŐƉƌŽƚĞŝŶ͖ϴ͘ϵŵŐŶŝĂĐŝŶ͖Ϭ͘ϳŵŐǀŝƚĂŵŝŶϲ͖ϭ͘ϴŵĐŐǀŝƚĂŵŝŶϭϮ͖Ϯ͘ϮŵŐŝƌŽŶ͖ϯϲ͘ϮŵĐŐƐĞůĞŶŝƵŵ͖ϱ͘ϴŵŐnjŝŶĐ͘ dŚŝƐƌĞĐŝƉĞŝƐĂŶĞdžĐĞůůĞŶƚƐŽƵƌĐĞŽĨƉƌŽƚĞŝŶ͕ŶŝĂĐŝŶ͕ǀŝƚĂŵŝŶϲ͕ǀŝƚĂŵŝŶϭϮ͕ƐĞůĞŶŝƵŵĂŶĚnjŝŶĐ͖ĂŶĚĂŐŽŽĚƐŽƵƌĐĞŽĨŝƌŽŶ͘

Mississippi Beef Council ϲϬϭ͘ϯϱϯ͘ϰϱϮϬͻǁǁǁ͘ĞĞĨ/ƚƐtŚĂƚƐ&ŽƌŝŶŶĞƌ͘ĐŽŵ ƌŽƵŐŚƚƚŽLJŽƵďLJDŝƐƐŝƐƐŝƉƉŝďĞĞĨƉƌŽĚƵĐĞƌƐƚŚƌŽƵŐŚdŚĞĞĞĨŚĞĐŬŽī͘

Teaching Kids

Danny, Jan, Magola and Joel Holley

Danny, Jan, Mayola and Joel Holley


an Holley and Carolyn Neergaard operate agritourism businesses on their family farms in Itawamba and DeSoto counties. With the average American now three generations removed from farm life, the women say it is critical that farmers teach consumers to appreciate agriculture. “Most people haven’t a clue how their food is grown,” said Jan, who is chair of the Itawamba County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. “They don’t know that farmers use proven methods and the latest technology to grow their livestock and crops. Nowadays, if farmers don’t keep up, they will be left behind. “Here at Holley Farm, we educate the public about the farming process,” she said. “We want visitors to understand agriculture so they will be more sympathetic and supportive of farmers and 14

locally-grown foods. We make this a fun process.” Carolyn agrees. “At Our Family Farm, we give school children an opportunity to visit a working farm so they can see for themselves where their food is grown,” she said. “Also, because I’m a nurse, I enjoy teaching kids healthy eating habits.” HOLLEY FARM Holley Farm, near Tremont, is a large row crop operation owned by two brothers and their spouses, Danny and Jan Holley and Joel and Mayola Holley. The agritourism portion of the farm, which is open six days a week, from mid-September until the end of October, is run by both couples and coordinated by Jan. Holley Farm visitors can choose from a variety of fun activities. They can visit the country store, or observe and learn about farm



About Agriculture By Glynda Phillips

Johnny and Carolyn Neergaard




animals, or watch a presentation about corn and visit a corn box, or ride a “barrel” train that takes them around and around the grounds. Visitors may also visit a cotton field and a 5-acre corn maze or take a tractor-drawn wagon ride along Bull Mountain Creek. Jan’s father, an entomologist, was aboard the wagon the day I took the ride. He presented fascinating information about Holley Farm and a Native American village that once stood on the property. The wagon returned us to a U-pick pumpkin patch, where all of the kids eagerly scrambled about, selecting pumpkins to take home. The farm also boasts a playground, complete with hay bales, sand and a 30-foot slide, that’s quite popular with old and young alike. At noon, we enjoyed home cooking at the Concession Stand, located in one of two long, red chicken houses. Some people brown-bagged their lunch, and that’s okay, too. We sat at picnic tables, ate our lunch and reflected upon our visit. Most folks seemed reluctant to leave. “We get visitors from schools in Tishomingo, Union, Tippah, Itawamba, Lee and Monroe counties and from towns in Alabama,” Jan said. “We also host church groups from everywhere. We do birthday parties, family reunions and other events. “Our school kids are primarily from kindergarten through second grade, but we also have some older youths and some high school students.”

row crops and beef cattle on 4,000 acres of farmland in Mississippi and Tennessee. Carolyn manages her family’s agritourism business on a 12-acre portion of the farm near Olive Branch. Our Family Farm, LLC, which officially opened last October, operates during the spring, summer and fall months. “We have beef cattle and quarter horses. Our visitors are welcome to look at our farm animals, but this is not a petting zoo,” Carolyn said. “They are encouraged to examine and pick from our display plots of corn, cotton, soybeans, rice and/or wheat.” The Neergaards also grow a small vegetable garden, blueberry and strawberry plants, pecan trees, a culinary herb garden, a “critter” garden, and a butterfly garden. Visitors are allowed to pick fruits and vegetables in season, and the farm offers a U-pick pumpkin patch. In addition, kids of all ages can visit the 6-acre corn maze and a haunted “graveyard.” BOOOO! Our Family Farm serves school kids from the Arkansas and Memphis metro area. In addition to field trips, it hosts birthday and corporate parties, family reunions, church groups and scouts. “I’m encouraged by the interest shown so far,” Carolyn said. “Attendance was somewhat down this fall, but I attribute that to the weather and the economy. I’m hopeful that this will continue to grow.

“I love farm life, and I appreciate farmers. They make such an important contribution to our nation,” she said. “Farmers grow an abundant supply of safe and affordable food products, and they are wonderful caretakers of our land and livestock. I want others to see that, too.” A former school teacher and librarian, Jan enjoys educating the public about farming, but she is thrilled that the agritourism venture brings together Holley family members to help out, especially on the weekends. “This really goes back to Danny’s father, the late Sim Holley, who was instrumental in organizing the Itawamba County Farm Bureau. He was such an innovative man, very cutting edge in his approach to farming,” she said. “He always kept up with the latest trends and was not afraid to try new things. “Over the years, two of Sim’s chicken houses were abandoned and had begun to deteriorate. I wanted to preserve them and the history of the farm,” she said. “I figured Sim would approve of agritourism since it is such an innovative approach to ag education. “I see agritourism as a new step in agriculture,” she added. “It is a wonderful way to make memories for kids while teaching them about farm life. When they are adults, they will think about farmers and food and how it is grown.” OUR FAMILY FARM Carolyn and Johnny Neergaard and their family members grow 16

“I love farm life, and I appreciate farmers. They make such an important contribution to our nation,” she said. “Farmers grow an abundant supply of safe and affordable food products, and they are wonderful caretakers of our land and livestock. I want others to see that, too.” Carolyn’s father, the late Hamlet Yarbrough, served as president of the Marshall County Farm Bureau and served on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors for several years. Carolyn feels she is carrying on her father’s legacy with the Our Family Farm agritourism endeavor. She is proud to do so. “Farm Bureau has always been very dear to my heart,” she said. MORE INFORMATION For more information about Holley Farm, contact the Holleys at 662.652.4099 or 662.871.6949. Or visit their Web site at For more information about Our Family Farm, contact the Neergaards at or by phone at 662.893.7888 (home) or 901.494.9539 (cell). FC



Flush out your arteries — with oats!

Ease arthritis — with honey!

Keep your brain sharp — with blueberries!

“The #1 Cause of Big Bellies — It’s Not What You Think!” (By Frank K. Wood) If you want to discover foods that will lower your blood pressure, cut your risk of heart disease, help you lose weight, and more — while trimming your grocery spending, too! — you need Your Body Can Heal Itself: Over 87 Foods Everyone Should Eat, an informative new book just released to the public by FC&A Medical Publishing in Peachtree City, Georgia. You’ll be amazed to know your kitchen is full of proven remedies — right now! See the delicious fruit juice that can help keep your mind sharp, the tasty sweet treat that can give you a good night’s sleep, and the easy breakfast favorite that can lower your cholesterol. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The authors provide many health tips with full explanations. 䉴 One miracle food contains nutrients that coat your arteries like a non-stick spray! 䉴 #1 cause of big bellies: Trim your waistline by switching to a tastier alternative! 䉴 Before you use an herbal supplement, make sure it’s safe by checking here. 䉴 Get a good night’s sleep when you munch a handful of this fruit before bedtime. 䉴 One extra serving a day of this fruit can fight strokes, obesity, and heart disease! 䉴 Drink it to boost bones and battle osteoporosis. Surprise! It’s not milk. 䉴 Cut your risk of memory failure in half! Just eat this once a week. Incredible! 䉴 Don’t lose your vision! Eat the foods that’ll keep your eyesight sharp for years to come. 䉴 This little fruit not only fights off pesky infections, it actually works when antibiotics don’t! 䉴 The berry that may protect your vision! 䉴 The most important food you can eat — for more energy, a more youthful body, and longer life. 䉴 How a healthy 50¢ meal can help you lose

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䉴 One healthy oil lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, plus it relieves constipation, naturally! 䉴 Avoid high blood pressure and add delicious flavor to your meals with spices rich in antioxidants. 䉴 What type of fruit should you avoid? You’ll find it in nearly every store. 䉴 This could be your body’s first line of defense against stroke, high cholesterol, and heart damage. 䉴 Gain strength, stay sharp, and keep your bones strong with this energy-boosting power food! 䉴 Arthritis pain? Try ginger! 䉴 If you’re feeling bloated or gassy, reach for this tropical treat. 䉴 Sweep artery-clogging cholesterol right out of your system with this little seed. 䉴 Have it before dinner, and you’ll eat less. Weight-loss secrets your doctor doesn’t tell you. 䉴 Keep your energy up throughout a busy morning with this fruity, high fiber breakfast. Learn all these amazing secrets and more. To order a copy, just return this coupon with your name and address and a check for $9.99 plus $3.00 shipping and handling to: FC&A, Dept. 3F-3094, 103 Clover Green, Peachtree City, GA 30269. We will send you a copy of Your Body Can Heal Itself. You get a no-time-limit guarantee of satisfaction or your money back. You must cut out and return this coupon with your order. Copies will not be accepted! IMPORTANT — FREE GIFT OFFER EXPIRES MARCH 13, 2010 All orders mailed by March 13, 2010 will receive a free gift, Lose 150 Pounds in 15 Months, Naturally: Your Handbook to Permanent Weight Loss, guaranteed. Order ©FC&A 2009 right away!

Communicating With Elected Officials One of the most effective ways for farmers to shape legislation protecting and promoting agriculture is through personal contact. Taking the time from a busy schedule to write or call lawmakers can help make things happen.

(5) What should you consider when calling your congressman? • Urgency: Sometimes the urgency of an issue demands that we use the telephone. • Be clear and concise: Don’t talk about the weather. Plan what you are going to say and deliver your message in a concise manner.

Here are some tips when planning a visit. (1) Why should Farm Bureau members get involved in the legislative process?

• Leave your phone number in case the congressman has further questions.

Government plays a role in many aspects of our lives. Decisions made by government at the local, state and national levels affect our daily lives. Individuals can make a difference. Farmers must be involved to protect agriculture. Farm Bureau members can inform legislators about agricultural issues. (2) What are the most effective ways of influencing your congressman? According to a study conducted by the American University, individualized letters from constituents are the most influential with telephone calls following as a close second. With security concerns in Washington and other areas, the fastest and more efficient way to communicate is to email or fax the letter in.

• Be willing to talk to staff: It is likely your call will be directed to a staff person in charge of your issue. They will get the message to the congressman. (6) Why should you get to know the staff of a congressman? Staff is assigned to draft and monitor legislation, meet with constituents and answer mail. They play a key role in influencing the issues with which we are involved.

MS Legislature Contact Information

(3) What should you keep in mind when meeting with your congressman? • Be prompt: Set up an appointment, do not keep the congressman waiting. • Plan your strategy: If you are part of a group, meet ahead of time, decide who will lead the conversation. • Be brief: Leave a one-page fact sheet with an outline of the problem and your solution. (4) What should you do when writing a letter? • Be timely: Write before the vote, not after. • Be informed: See information about the issue. • Be clear, precise and legible. • Stick to one issue. • Be specific: Use the bill number. • Include your name, address, phone number and email address. • Be polite. 18


The following phone numbers are useful if you have any questions concerning legislation during the 2010 Session of the Mississippi Legislature: House Docket Room: 601.359.3360 Senate Docket Room: 601.359.3229 Legislative Reference Bureau: 601.359.3135 Senators During Session: 601.359.3770 Representatives During Session: 601.359.3770 Bill Status During Session: 601.359.3719 You can also go online to Http:// to access specific bills and to track their movement through the legislative process.

For more state information, or for information about how to communicate with U.S. congressmen or how to track national legislation, contact the Public Policy Department as follows: Samantha Cawthorn Public Policy Director Office: 601.977.4020 Andy Whittington Environmental Programs Coordinator Office: 601.977.4238 Angela Thompson Department Assistant Office: 601.977.4242


How to Address Correspondence


Contact Information

In communicating with public officials, it is helpful to know their proper address. Here are the best ways to address correspondence:

The Honorable Thad Cochran United States Senate 113 Dirksen Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: 202.224.5054 Fax: 202.224.9450 Web site: Email:

President of the United States The President The White House Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President

The Honorable Roger Wicker United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: 202.224.6253 Fax: 202.228.0378 Web site:

U.S. Senator The Honorable (full name) United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator (last name) U.S. Representative The Honorable (full name) United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Travis Childers 1st Congressional District United States House of Representatives 1708 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone 202.225.4306 Fax: 202.225.3549 Web site: Email:

Dear Representative (last name) Governor The Honorable (full name) State Capitol P. O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205

The Honorable Bennie Thompson 2nd Congressional District United States House of Representatives 2432 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone 202.225.5876 Fax: 202.225.5898 Web site: Email:

Dear Governor State Senator The Honorable (full name) Mississippi Senate State Capitol P. O. Box 1018 Jackson, MS 39215

The Honorable Gregg Harper 3rd Congressional District United States House of Representatives 307 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-2403 Phone: 202.225.5031 Fax: 202.225.5797 Email:

Dear Senator (last name) State Representative The Honorable (full name) Mississippi House of Representatives State Capitol P. O. Box 1018 Jackson, MS 39215

The Honorable Gene Taylor 4th Congressional District United States House of Representatives 2269 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone: 202.225.5772 Fax: 202.225.7074 Web site: Email: JANUARY/FEBRUARY

Dear Representative (last name) When writing to the chair of a committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as:

Dear Mr. Chairman or Madame Chairwoman: Dear Mr. Speaker: M I S S I S S I P P I FA R M C O U N T RY



LESSONS FROM “THE LITTLE BOOK” By Sam E. Scott, MFBF General Counsel

In 1918, William Strunk, Jr., a professor of English at Cornell University, selfpublished a small 43-page, 5x7-inch booklet entitled “The Elements of Style” for the use of his students. It sold in the bookshop for twenty-five cents and went through several revisions before the author’s death in 1946. One of his English students in 1919 was E.B. White, who became a very successful author of children’s books, notably the classic, “Charlotte’s Web,” and a highly respected journalist for the New Yorker magazine. Strunk’s “little book,” as he liked to call it, was the model of brevity and simplicity. Its basic approach was: Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subject only in outline, but that every word tell. None of his rules was more important than No. 13, “omit needless words!” – which he often would repeat three times. What a profound statement! Almost 40 years after taking English from Strunk, a friend sent E.B. White a copy of the little book. He wrote an appreciation of it and its author in the magazine in 1957, and, to his surprise, a major publisher expressed interest in publishing the book if White would update it. He did so in 1959 with subsequent revisions, and it has since sold more than ten million copies, made the bestseller lists and, in due course, expanded to what Professor Strunk would probably consider a


This memorandum by its length alone effectively defends itself against the risk of being read. -Winston Churchill monumental 85 pages. Even White considered this update an attack on its “bastions of brevity.” The book is a treasure. I thought of it when learning that the health care bill in the U.S. House of Representative is 1990 pages long. I wonder who has read it all? Who understands it? Who could explain it to the average citizen? This is just another example of the current legislative vogue of verbosity and prolixity. It is not confined to Congress and can be annually seen in the produce of the Mississippi Legislature. Better yet, how about the U.S. Tax Code and Regulations? They bring to mind Winston Churchill’s response to a memorandum: This memorandum by its length alone effectively defends itself against the risk of being read. Should government take action in jargon that few will read and less understand? I have spent decades reading documents loaded with jargon but shudder to think of reading the health care bill, much less trying to understand it. Several years ago, Howard Baker, the Senate Majority Leader, campaigned for the presidential nomination with one of his themes being that Congress had become too complicated and its members were no longer representatives of their communities, in session for a few weeks, taking action in general terms on important matters. Instead, they had become professional legislators. His idea may not have been politically successful then, but time proved him right. Would we be better off with (a) shorter


legislation; (b) shorter legislative sessions; (c) less special sessions; (d) a smaller bureaucracy; (e) less special interest influence? The list could go on and on. Today, we continue to face the question of how much government is too much. Now, we have czars of this and that and are facing budget deficits that are beyond realistic imagination. As the bureaucracy grows, accountability diminishes along with public confidence in government. The judicial system has become too expensive for average citizens, and litigation can consume a life savings as quickly as a serious illness. The answer is not more judges but fewer lawsuits and less crime. To find solutions, another Strunk rule seems more appropriate today: avoid fancy words. Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able. – Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason. Every legislator, every lawyer, every judge, as well as every writer should follow the tenets of the little book – with good reason. Sam E. Scott is general counsel for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) and practices law in the law firm of Samuel E. Scott, PLLC, in Jackson. The foregoing information is general in nature and is not intended as nor should be considered specific legal advice, nor to be considered as MFBF’s position or opinion.


THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS By Andy Whittington Coordinator, MFBF Environmental Programs A couple of weeks ago, I had to put together one of those really nice pressboard, five-shelf bookcases. I fully admit that when it comes to building something I’m a “that’s close enough” kind of guy or a “just eyeball it” type of fella. But I wasn’t building anything. I was putting something together, and since somebody else built it, I needed the instructions. When I dumped the contents of the box onto the floor, I found the instructions, a roadmap to organized bookdom. Imagine my surprise when I realized the instructions were in Spanish, a language that I am not fluent in. After an agonizing two minutes of looking among the pre-cut wood pieces for the instruction sheet, I still had not found the English version, and I must admit that I thought about just “eyeballing it” from the picture on front of the box. Then I thought about my wife, for whom I was constructing this bookcase. She really hates lopsided and wobbly furniture. After another frantic two minutes, I finally found the English instructions still stuck inside the box. I quickly put together a piece of furniture that I hope never gets wet! FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS While we may not realize it, we follow a set of “instructions” every day. It may be something as simple as how we place our trash by the street to be picked up, or as complicated as cleaning up a broken fluorescent light bulb (a 14-step procedure in Maine). As a matter of fact, you would be hard-pressed to think of something that doesn’t have a set of “instructions” that apply either before, during, or after you do it. Of course, we don’t typically think of these as “instructions,” we think of them as “laws.” Once Congress has enacted legislation telling us WHAT to do, it is the responsibility of the agency to tell us HOW to do it. Each piece of legislation that is passed JANUARY/FEBRUARY

grants the authority of enforcement to one of over 300 federal agencies. It is the duty of the agency to write the rules or the set of instructions we are to follow to comply with the act passed by Congress. Using the earlier example of the bookcase, Congress might pass a law that says I must build a five-shelf bookcase, so tall and so wide. The Office of Bookcase Design and Safety writes a set of instructions that tells me to insert tab A into slot B and secure using loc washer #7, hex head bolt #2, and wing nut #12. These instructions would also tell me to use protective eyewear, what tools I would need before starting, and probably provide the procedure for my wife to bring civil suit against me if it were wobbly and lopsided when I finished. IT TAKES TIME Every day, the Office of the Federal Register publishes the “Federal Register.” This is a collection of proposed rules, notices, requests for information, and final rules from all the federal agencies. After a law is passed, the agency will have a specified amount of time to draft the proposed rules for implementation. The proposed rules must be submitted to the Federal Register, and a time period must be allowed for the public to submit comments, usually addressing specific questions the agency asks. After the agency feels that it has sufficiently addressed the concerns it received during the comment period and it has sufficiently addressed its congressional directives, the agency will issue its Final Rule. Once a rule is finalized, it is codified; rather, it is inserted into one of 50 Titles in the 220 volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations (taking up about 19 feet of shelf space). While most of us are probably aware of bills as they are being considered on the House and Senate floor, many of us are unaware of the months or years of deliberation and thought that went into M I S S I S S I P P I FA R M C O U N T RY

While we may not realize it, we follow a set of “instructions” every day. It may be something as simple as how we place our trash by the street to be picked up, or as complicated as cleaning up a broken fluorescent light bulb (a 14-step procedure in Maine). crafting these regulations. Once these rules have been finalized and published, there are people who translate these rules in order that the people affected remain in compliance with the law. Farm Bureau, at both the state and national level, takes an active role in the rulemaking process. Many in Congress and the federal agencies have little knowledge or connection to agriculture. Representatives from urban centers and senators from heavy industrial states need guidance in crafting statutes and rules that make sense and have logical applications on the farm. A DIVERSE LAND America is a diverse landscape, each area with its own set of resources and way of life. With such diversity, it is nearly impossible to craft broad and far-reaching rules without a variety of unintended consequences. The rulemaking process, and our involvement as stakeholders, is designed to limit those consequences. As a bill moves through Congress, the cable news networks and editorial pages of the newspaper are filled each day with speculation as to how each bill might impact our lives. The most important thing to remember is that the devil is in the details, and the impact will depend on the rules that we must follow to comply with the law. Hopefully, these “instructions” are easy to read and understand, so we don’t wind up with lopsided and wobbly laws.



The Wesson House, pictured above, was the home of the first mayor of our mystery town. It is one of only three Dedicated Mississippi Landmarks in DeSoto County. On the opposite page, top photo and clockwise, are: City Hall, the town’s museum (with curator Bill Cruthirds), and Old Towne. Which northwest Mississippi town was originally called Cowpens? Travelers on Pigeon Roost Road, from Holly Springs to Memphis, would overnight their livestock in pens located in this settlement; hence, the unusual name. In 1842, residents gave Cowpens a new name. It became Watson’s Crossroads, in honor of Rev. Sam Watson, a local Methodist minister. When a post office was established there in 1846, the town’s name changed once again. The new and present name was inspired by the story of Noah and the Flood. Name the town. Here are more clues. EARLY HISTORY The area around this town was originally home to the Chickasaws. In 1540-42, Hernando DeSoto and his group of Spaniards arrived to explore. In the 1800s, pioneers began to settle the region. Like many small towns around the state, early industries included sawmills and farming. This town was incorporated in 1874. It began to grow and prosper when the Memphis to Birmingham Railroad came through in 1885. When Holiday Inn built a training center in our mystery town in the last quarter of the 20th century, the town experienced dramatic growth. Holiday Inn University trained innkeepers from across the nation and around the world. “Holiday Inn was a big catalyst for our growth,” said Bill Cruthirds, director of community relations and tourism for our mystery town. Cruthirds is also curator of the town museum. “Other factors included our proximity to Memphis and the construction of Highway 78 in the 1970s. “Our population grew from 3,700 in 1990 to over 21,000 by the year 2000. That’s a 600 percent growth for the decade,” he said. “We were told that we were the fastest-growing city in the nation in the category of cities with a population of 20,000 or less.” When Holiday Inn no longer needed the school, it was sold, and the former innkeepers’ school became Whispering Woods Hotel.

TOWN TODAY Today, this town boasts a population of about 33,000 residents and is still growing. It is home to some 80 manufacturing and distribution centers, all located in the metro industrial park. 22



“We offer diverse employment opportunities and represent a prime residential location for people who work in Memphis but want to live outside the city,� Cruthirds said. Our mystery town is located in DeSoto County. The seat of county government is Hernando, and Southaven is the largest city. Our mystery town has the only memorial in the county honoring its war veterans. This beautiful monument is located on the grounds of the City Hall building at the intersection of Pigeon Roost and Old Goodman roads. Name this town. A special thanks to Bill Cruthirds, George Collins and the DeSoto County Farm Bureau for their help with the article and photos. CORRECT GUESSES Mail guesses to Solve the Mystery, Mississippi Farm Country, P. O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215. You may also e-mail your guesses to Please remember to include your name and address on the entry. Visit our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Web site at 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. 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 January 31. The 2009 Bed and Breakfast winner is Dorothy Dauzat of Monroe County. Congratulations!

Photo courtesy of Bill Cruthirds

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER The correct answer for the November/December Solve the Mystery is Crystal Springs.




Quaint Little Apron Shop

W By Glynda Phillips

hen you think of aprons, you probably think of chefs in fancy restaurants, or cooks in greasy spoon diners, or, simply, friends and relatives who enjoy puttering about a kitchen or grilling outdoors. Historically, aprons have been identified with cooks. But other professions have used them as well, including blacksmiths, farriers, factory workers, pressmen, maids, waitresses, butchers, bakers and even (maybe) candlestick makers. A fascinating glimpse at some of our country’s more colorful and unusual aprons can be found at The Apron Museum in Iuka. The owner, Carolyn Terry, has spent over 20 years collecting, cleaning and preserving some 2,000 vintage aprons. Most of her inventory consists of kitchen aprons, but she also owns quite a few frilly maid aprons and one Chicago pressman apron. Some of Carolyn’s aprons date back to antebellum times and the early years of the 20th century, when muslin, organza, embroidery, lace and tatting were used to great effect. Others hail from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when cotton, polyester, flour and feed sack materials were also used creatively. Many of the 1950s aprons (the apron’s heyday) are appliquéd, some of them quite elaborately. Some aprons showcase witty sayings while others tout companies like Fruit of the Loom and Coca-Cola. Some aprons match special occasion tablecloths while others are designed in duplicate as in matching mother and daughter aprons and even daughter and doll aprons. Carolyn attaches her aprons with clothespins to coated cable lines that stretch the length of her museum. Most are for viewing purposes only, but quite a few are for sale. Almost all of the aprons are bright and festive and beautiful. 24



Apron photos by Cheryl Meints JANUARY/FEBRUARY



Renewed Interest

Watercolor by Ann Ferguson

Folks of all ages visit The Apron Museum, but a growing number of young adults are poking their heads inside the shop, men and women very much interested in all things vintage. The Apron Museum has hosted visitors from around the state, the nation and the world. The museum has been featured in several local and state publications. Recently, a number of Carolyn’s aprons were displayed at the Mississippi Crafts Center in Ridgeland. “Not many people were collecting vintage aprons when I began doing this some 20 years ago,” she said. “Now, people are more aware of them. My aprons come from all over the United States, but some of the best are from the Midwest. My parents are from Mississippi, but I was raised in Chicago. I have friends in the area who help me find great stuff.”

“Not many people were collecting vintage aprons when I began doing this some 20 years ago,” she said. “Now, people are more aware of them. My aprons come from all over the United States.” Carolyn has learned to date her aprons by observing the types of stitching, thread, dye and fabric used. For example, some of the aprons were hand-stitched while others were made with a sewing machine. Some experts even claim to be able to tell which brand of sewing machine was used! Carolyn collects her aprons when she attends estate sales looking for old and rare books, another passion. In addition to the aprons and books, Carolyn’s shop (also known as the Pineslab Shop in honor of the restaurant that was once located there) sells handmade crafts as well as antique doilies, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, buttons and tablecloths.

Future Plans Carolyn and her husband have purchased three buildings adjacent to The Apron Museum, with plans to open a conventional book store, a rare books store, and a coffee shop. When you visit Iuka, locate the town’s two highest church steeples. The museum sits on a downtown street corner between those two churches and is painted a bright Victory Blue. Enjoy your visit. For more information about The Apron Museum, call Carolyn at 662.279.2390 or visit FC




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1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 c. flour

½ c. butter

3 T. sugar

1 c. pecans, chopped

4 tsp. baking powder

Graham crackers

½ tsp. salt

Grease cookie sheets and line with graham crackers. Mix sugar and butter together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat. When bubbling stops, stir in pecans. Spoon and spread over crackers. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely and store in Ziploc bags. Kay Perkins Tishomingo County

½ tsp. cinnamon ½ c. butter 1/3 c. chopped pecans ½ c. milk 2/3 c. pumpkin Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Mix milk and pumpkin. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix to make a soft dough. Knead lightly. Roll small dough balls, about 1 inch in diameter, in your hands. Place on ungreased sheet and pat them down. Bake 12-15 minutes in 425-degree oven.

MOCK FILET MIGNON 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef

Jane F. Boyd Rankin County

2 c. cooked rice 1 c. onions, minced ½ tsp. garlic powder 2 T. Worcestershire sauce 1 ½ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper 8 slices bacon 1 can cream of mushroom soup ¼ c. milk 1 T. hot sauce Toothpicks to hold bacon Combine all ingredients, except bacon, soup and milk. Mix well. Divide into eight equal parts and shape into round patties ¾-inch thick. Wrap bacon around edge and secure with toothpicks. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until done. Mix soup and milk in a saucepan. Stir and heat. Pour soup over meat patties and bake 10 minutes. Serve hot. Michelle Norman Itawamba County


These recipes were taken from “Country Cooking, Volume IV,” which is available at most county Farm Bureau offices. The cost is $15. If you order from the state office, it will cost you $15 plus postage. For more information, contact Women’s Program Coordinator Clara Bilbo at 1.800.227.8244, ext. 4245.



USDA GRANTS AVAILABLE TO ASSIST FARMERS Grants for making Energy Efficiency Improvements are now available from USDA-Rural Development. Eligible Energy Efficiency Improvements are any improvements to a facility, building or process that reduces energy consumption. For Agricultural Producers, this may include more efficient systems or system components for pumping, commodity handling, drying, heating, cooling, lighting, insulation, computer controllers, etc. Producers with grain drying systems, with irrigation or water pumping or aerations systems, with commodity cooling or cold storage facilities, with greenhouse heating and cooling requirements, etc. should all take note of this grant opportunity. Over the past seven years of this grant program, poultry producers have been the primary recipients in Mississippi. For poultry producers, eligible improvements might include any work to make the houses tighter and better insulated (walls, doors, ceilings), improved brooders (radiant, direct-spark or tube), lighting, computer controllers, vent doors, curtain improvements, interior stir fans, exhaust fan replacement with more efficient fans, water/drinking systems, baffles, insulated brood curtains, etc. This grant program is also available to rural small businesses. Ag tillage equipment, used equipment and vehicles, and residential energy systems are not eligible for this grant program. These grant funds pay 25% of the eligible project costs. Guaranteed Loans are also available under this program. The same grant program also assists with the installation of

Renewable Energy Systems. Eligible Renewable Energy Systems must produce usable energy from a renewable energy source. The first renewable energy grant approved for Mississippi in 2009 was used to install a photo-voltaic, solar panel system on the broiler farm of Spencer Pope in Leake County. Agricultural producers and rural small businesses from across the state can get help in the grant application process from Southwest MS Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. (RC&D). Contact RC&D to have an application package sent by mail. Email: or call 601.833.5539, 757.1303 or 748.2622. The grant process requires that an Energy Audit be completed. RC&D recently received a grant from USDA-Rural Development that will cover the cost of the Energy Audit. The Energy Audit will identify potential energy-savings retrofits, project the expected annual energy savings from each retrofit, then calculate the payback period for each retrofit, making it a valuable management and decision-making tool. Contact RC&D to schedule an Energy Audit. A recent sampling of 40 poultry producers who have participated in this energy audit and grant program showed that they averaged a six percent decrease in electricity consumption and a 41 percent decrease in propane consumption in the recent 12-month period. Collectively, their annual energy saving is equivalent to 313,800 gallons of propane. Prepared by: Bennie Hutchins, RC&D Coordinator, Southwest MS RC&D, Inc., P.O. Box 3670, Brookhaven, MS 39603, Phone 601.833.5539, Email:

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CONTESTS REGION 2 Elisabeth Cleveland, Itawamba County, Talent Division I Alternate; Rebecca Cleveland, Talent Division II Winner; Blaine Watson, Lee County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 2; Hannah Hamblin, Marshall County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 2 Alternate; Anna Kate McEllhiney, Tishomingo County, Talent Division I Winner; Rakel Leigh Gibson, Lee County, Talent Division II Alternate; and Julee Maxcy, Tishomingo County, Talent Division III Winner.

REGION 1 Sloan Garner, Panola County, Talent Division II Alternate; Andrea Pittman, Panola County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 1; Brame Garner, Panola County, Talent Division I Winner; and Kateland Barr, Bolivar County, Talent Division II Winner.


REGION 5 Erika Alford, Lawrence County, Talent Division II Alternate; Sarah Loper, Walthall County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 5 Alternate; Anna Katelyn Britt, Lincoln County, Talent Division I Winner; Kristin Hall, Lincoln County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 5; April Crozier, Marion County, Talent Division III Winner; and Katie Edwards, Walthall County, Talent Division II Winner. 30

Madden Gray, Neshoba County, Talent Division I Alternate; Holly Brand, Lauderdale County, Talent Division I Winner; Nicole Covington, Lauderdale County, Talent Division II Winner; Tristan Stovall, Neshoba County, Talent Division II Alternate; Betsey Irons, Neshoba County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 6; Lauren Rogers, Lauderdale County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 6 Alternate; Melissa Jones, Lauderdale County, Talent Division III Winner; and Deidre Tubby, Neshoba County, Talent Division III Alternate.



REGION 4 Jessica Flynt, Clay County, Talent Division III Winner; Anna Greenlee, Montgomery County, Talent Division II Winner; Chrissy Hill, Grenada County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 4 Alternate; Kadie Turner, Webster County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 4. Not pictured: Molly May, Chickasaw County, Talent Division II Alternate; and Callie Jackson, Monroe County, Talent Division III Alternate.

REGION 3 Roxie Hudgins, Covington County, Talent Division II Alternate; Gracie Wells, Yazoo County, Talent Division I Winner; John Aaron Howell, Yazoo County, Talent Division II Winner; Whitney Thompson, Scott County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 3; and Rachel Rutland, Smith County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 3 Alternate. Not pictured: Dakota Rogers, Smith County, Talent Division I Alternate; Steve Abercrombie, Rankin County, Talent Division III Winner; and Deonna Rhodes, Smith County, Talent Division III Alternate.

REGION 7 Kameron Ryan Jackson, Pearl River County, Talent Division II Winner; Lauren Sigrest, Perry County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 7 Alternate; Belinda McNair, Harrison County, Talent Division III Winner; Sumer Adams, Jones County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 7; and Ashley Walters, Jones County, Talent Division II Alternate.


REGION 8 Toni Storey, Carroll County, Talent Division III Alternate; Elizabeth Wynne, Holmes County, Talent Division I Winner; JuliAnna Wynne, Holmes County, Talent Division III Winner; Jessica Harthcock, Holmes County, Talent Division II Winner; and Kelly Langford, Madison County, Miss Farm Bureau Region 8.




Attending the Country Women’s Council (CWC) Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, were Kay Perkins, Region 2 Women’s Committee Chair; Dott Arthur, State Women’s Committee Chair, and Clara Bilbo, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Program and Ag in the Classroom Coordinator.

MARK MORRIS JOINS STAFF Mark Morris has joined the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) staff as Communications Specialist. His primary responsibility will be video production, multimedia, and audio/visual duties. Mark worked at WAPT Channel 16 in Jackson for 14 years and at LoveComm Communications for four years. For the last nine years, he has been freelancing with major networks, producing live sports such as the NBA, NASCAR, and college football. “Mark is very talented and is going to be a tremendous asset to Farm Bureau,” said MFBF Member Services Director Greg Gibson. “He has the personality and the drive to take our video production to a new level.”


January 5

Legislative Session Convenes

January 10-13

AFBF Annual Meeting Seattle, Washington

January 26

Legislative Reception

January 26

Winter Commodity Conf. Row Crops and Aquaculture MFBF Building, Jackson

January 27

Winter Commodity Conf. Livestock and Forestry MFBF Building, Jackson

February 1-3

Washington D.C. Member Tour

February 21-27

National Food Check-Out Week

February 23

Day At The Capitol Jackson

February 24

Food Check-Out Day Ronald McDonald House Jackson

March 5-7

State YF&R Conf. Greenwood

March 14-20

National Ag Week

March 26

Women’s Leadership Conf.

Dr. Gregory A. Bohach has been named vice president for the Mississippi State Jackson University (MSU) Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. His appointment is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Steve Martin has been named head of MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. He has served as interim head of the center since July 2008. Dr. Andrew Ezell, a 24-year-veteran faculty member, is the new head of the MSU Forestry Department. Ezell will lead the only 4-year forestry degree program in the state.

IN MEMORIAM: PATSY WALLER Our prayers are with the family of Patsy Hardin Waller, 77, of Oxford, who died Nov. 4 after a long illness. Patsy, the wife of past Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation president, Don Waller, was a former Lafayette County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair, and was active in her church and community for many years. She served as Deputy Lafayette County Chancery Clerk and Chancery Clerk for several terms. In 1977, she and her husband founded Waller Funeral Home in Oxford. A longtime member of Clear Creek Baptist Church, Pasty worked with youth groups, served as a Sunday School teacher, was active in WMU, and served as church pianist for 35 years. She was named Outstanding Christian Woman (1970) and Woman of Achievement (1971) by the Business and Professional Women’s Club. Don and Patsy have three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Expressions of sympathy or memorial contributions can be made to Clear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 50 CR 313, Oxford, MS 38655. 32



SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT By Greg Gibson, Director, MFBF Member Services Department In 2008, identity theft cost Americans over $48 billion (Source: Javelin Strategy and Research. “2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report.” February 2009). Farm Bureau has partnered with LifeLock, the industry leader in identity theft protection, to offer our members a discount when signing up for LifeLock’s identity theft protection service. LifeLock works to stop identity theft before it happens – even if your information falls into the wrong hands. As a LifeLock member, if you become a victim of identity theft because of a failure in LifeLock® service, they’ll help you fix it at their expense, up to $1,000,000 (Restrictions apply. See for details.). This extensive system provides early notification whenever LifeLock detects your personal information being used to apply for many forms of credit and non-credit. It helps you replace the contents of a lost or stolen wallet (pictures, cash and other monies excluded), and LifeLock reduces credit card offers by requesting that your name be removed from these mailing lists. This is a great offer that will save members 10% off the regular cost of LifeLock protection. Call 800.LIFELOCK or visit and use promocode MSFB. For more information about these or any of Farm Bureau’s member benefits, visit the Farm Bureau Web site at or call Member Benefits Coordinator Dedra Luke at 1.800.227.8244, ext 4169.


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The FSC logo on our back page stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an international stakeholder-owned system established in 1994 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. In Jan. 2008, our printer, Worldcolor Corinth, achieved chain-of-custody certification for the world’s three leading forest management programs. Chain-of-custody certification is the more reliable form of assurance that the fiber in the paper used in this publication is the product of well-managed forests and is processed in environmentally responsible ways. Chain-of-custody certification is critical for validating and substantiating environmental performance claims through audit. The Enviroink™ logo denotes that the heatset inks used to produce this magazine by Worldcolor Corinth contain a minimum of 20 percent, by weight, renewable resources, primarily pine rosins, along with some vegetable oils, typically linseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil and/or tung oil. 33

Members of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation are a part of one of the most influential organizations in the world.

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