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Working to Strengthen Agriculture



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 Ellis 1-800-227-8244 ext. 4242

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.

The 2018 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature was a banner year for agriculture. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, along with our partners, was able to successfully encourage passage of several bills that will have a direct and positive impact on farmers, ranchers, rural Mississippians and all Farm Bureau members.


COCHRAN TRIBUTE U.S. Senator Thad Cochran retired April 1, after having served in Congress for 46 years. Read the tribute to Senator Cochran from public officials and Mississippi farm leaders.

FARM BUREAU OFFICERS President – Mike McCormick Vice President (North) – Donald Gant Vice President (Central) – Ted Kendall IV Vice President (South) – Reggie Magee Corporate Secretary – Kent Bloodworth Treasurer – Billy Davis FARM BUREAU DIRECTORS Jim Perkins, Tishomingo Mike Graves, Tippah B.A. Teague, Union Preston Arrington, Sunflower Mike Ferguson, Tate Neal Huskison, Pontotoc Jeffrey Tabb, Webster Joe Huerkamp, Noxubee Terry Wynne, Holmes James Rasberry, Attala Doug Wilkerson, Kemper Max Anderson, Newton Stanley Williams, Covington Josh Miller, Sharkey Tod Waltman, Copiah Noble Guedon, Adams Mike Keith, Lamar Larry Jefcoat, Jones Clifton Hicks, Greene Perry Meyers, Jackson Betty Mills, Montgomery William Tabb, Webster


22 WOMEN’S AND SECRETARIES’ CONFERENCES Photo coverage of the 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference and the 2018 Secretaries’ Conference can be found inside this issue. These events enjoyed excellent speakers, programs and attendance.



RECIPES Enjoy the recipes from “Country Cooking, Vol. V.” Sales of this cookbook generate funds for the Ag in the Classroom program. Cookbooks are available at most county offices.

26 & 29 ABOUT THE COVER Farm Bureau volunteer leader Virgil Walker is making a difference in Mississippi agriculture. Read his story inside.





Lawmakers Important Part of Ag’s Success Story Agriculture is Mississippi’s No. 1 industry, contributing billions of dollars to the state’s economy every year. This success story is due in no small part to the efforts of our lawmakers in both the Legislature and U.S. Congress. These dedicated men and women also strive to ensure that our rural communities remain vital and strong. Over the years, Farm Bureau volMike McCormick unteer leaders and staff have worked President, Mississippi with state and national lawmakers to Farm Bureau Federation pass countless pieces of legislation of benefit to farmers. This year was no exception. We are especially proud of the Right to Farm bill that was recently signed into law by our governor. I invite you to read Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Public Policy Coordinator Lee Thorne’s legislative recap inside this issue. A photo of the chairs and vice chairs of the agriculture committees in both houses can be found on the adjoining page. I want to personally thank them for their work during the 2018 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature. They are definitely helping to move Mississippi agriculture forward. I also want to give a heartfelt thanks to retired U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. Mere words can’t begin to express what he has meant to our agriculture industry over the course of his 46 years of service in Congress. On behalf of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, I wish for him a well-deserved and blessed retirement. We will miss Senator Cochran, but we look forward to working with his successor, U. S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Her past efforts in the Legislature and as Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce have greatly benefited all Mississippians. I expect the same level of commitment and hard work as she serves in her new role in Washington, D.C. I encourage you to read the articles about Thad Cochran and Cindy Hyde-Smith by MFBF National Affairs Coordinator Justin Ferguson. THE GRASSROOTS PROCESS

Each year around this time, Mississippi Farm Bureau



Federation begins holding its policy development meetings in different areas of the state. This grassroots process starts at the county level and ends with our delegate body at state convention as they approve the policies and set the priority issues that will guide our organization’s efforts in the coming year. If you’d like more information, I invite you to contact your regional manager or our public policy staff. OUTSTANDING FARMER LEADERS

This issue of our membership magazine always features outstanding volunteer leaders from across the state. We couldn’t do what we do without them and countless others like them. Mt. Olive cattle and truck crops farmer Virgil Walker is featured on our cover. Virgil is a longtime Covington County Farm Bureau board member who never misses a state convention. When you see him at this year’s convention, I encourage you to thank him for all that he does for Mississippi agriculture. We know we can count on Virgil’s help when it is needed. Alice Sides farms row crops, hay and cows in Tate and Panola counties. Alice, who serves on the Tate County Farm Bureau Board of Directors as county women’s chair, especially values the Ag in the Classroom program. She makes a point of telling the farmer’s story every chance she gets. We appreciate Alice’s dedicated work on behalf of Farm Bureau. I can’t begin to tell you how well-respected and well-loved Herbert and Joanie Word are within our Farm Bureau family. These Monroe County cattle, soybean and hay farmers have served our organization well for over 30 years. Herbert is the president of Monroe County Farm Bureau and a former state board member. Joanie is a longtime county women’s chair who is serving her first term on our State Women’s Committee. We know the Words will always be there when we need them. THANK YOU

In conclusion, I want to thank you once again for your hard work during the 2018 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature. It was one of Farm Bureau’s most productive sessions in recent years, and that is because of your willingness to work together to support Mississippi farmers. I appreciate you more than you will ever know. You are, quite simply, the best. FB


Moving Agriculture Forward

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) volunteer leaders and staff work closely each year with the Agriculture Committee chairs and vice chairs in both houses of the Mississippi Legislature. These men are farmers who well understand the many challenges and opportunities that exist in today’s farming industry. We couldn’t do what we do here at Farm Bureau without them. Pictured with


MFBF President Mike McCormick are, from left, Rep. Vince Mangold, District 53, vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee; Rep. Bill Pigott, District 99, chair of the House Agriculture Committee; Sen. Billy Hudson, District 45, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee; and Sen. Russell Jolly, District 8, vice chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. FB




Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation National Affairs Coordinator & Commodity Coordinator for Major Row Crops

Meet Your New U.S. Senator: Cindy Hyde-Smith

On April 9, 2018, Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn in as Mississippi’s first female U.S. senator. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, who retired on April 1, 2018. Senator Hyde-Smith currently serves on the Senate Appropriations, Agriculture and Rules committees. A special election will be held for the remaining two years of Cochran’s term on Nov. 6. Senator Hyde-Smith is a conservative Republican from Brookhaven. She and her husband, Michael, are the proud parents of Anna-Michael, the family’s fifth-generation farmer. They raise beef cattle and are partners in Lincoln County Livestock, the local stockyard auction market in Brookhaven which has held a live cattle auction every Tuesday since 1942. They are active in their community and are members of Macedonia Baptist Church. She is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi. Senator Hyde-Smith served as a Mississippi state senator for 12 years, representing District 39, and chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee for eight years. During her time as a Mississippi senator, she led an effort to protect private property rights against the abuse of eminent domain. Her efforts led to a citizen’s initiative that was on the statewide ballot in 2011, which passed with an overwhelming 73% of the statewide vote. As a legislator, she has been honored as follows: • Agriculture Legislator of the Year Award, Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts



★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

• Ambassador Award, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation • Distinguished Service Award, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation • Achievement Award, Delta Council • Outstanding Service to Small Farmers Award, Alcorn State University. In 2011, she was the first woman to be elected as Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, and she was reelected in 2015. As Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, she was voted by her peers to lead the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture and as president of the Southern United States Trade Association. In 2013, Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith was the recipient of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) Distinguished Service Award. This award is the highest honor Farm Bureau bestows on an individual, and it is reserved for someone who has truly made a difference in the lives of Mississippi farmers. Most recently, HydeSmith has served as a co-chair of the Agriculture Policy Advisory Council for President Donald Trump. At the time of appointment, MFBF President Mike McCormick stated, “Farm Bureau is pleased to see Governor Bryant appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the upcoming vacant U.S. Senate seat. From her time as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee to more recently serving as our state’s commissioner of agriculture, she has been willing to stand up for the farmers and ranchers of our state, and we look forward to her continuing that effort in Washington.” FB


2018 Legislative Recap B Y L E E T H O R N E , D E P U T Y G E N E R A L C O U N S E L / P U B L I C P O L I C Y C O O R D I N AT O R

The 2018 Session of the Mississippi Legislature was a banner year for agriculture. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF), along with our partners, was able to successfully encourage passage of several bills that will have a direct and positive impact on farmers, ranchers, rural Mississippians, and all Farm Bureau members. In addition to the Legislature passing three major pro-agriculture bills, we were able to secure more funding for Mississippi State, encourage deletion of repealers on Farm Bureau-supported laws, and reduce regulations. We also continued to work on a major infrastructure bill. Additionally, in the last three months, there have been major changes in political offices that affect Mississippi agriculture. Here is an overview of Farm Bureau’s accomplishments at the State Capitol this session. RIGHT TO FARM

Poultry Association, Mississippi Forestry Association, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, along with Sanderson Farms and Tyson. MFBF President Mike McCormick and Chairman Billy Hudson have said that this is the biggest piece of pro-agriculture legislation since eminent domain. HARVEST PERMIT

Several years ago, Attorney General Jim Hood issued an opinion regarding Mississippi’s harvest permit law. Since the law was enacted, a hauler with a harvest permit was able to use that permit to haul raw agricultural products, defined by statute, to a final point of processing. The attorney general opinion held that the harvest permit could not be used if the truck hauling the product was leaving a point with scales. This year, we supported the Mississippi Forestry Association’s work in passing legislation that revived the intent of the law to allow the use of a harvest permit to a final point of processing. The new law also allows for an increased axel variance, as long as the load is under the maximum limit of 84,000 pounds. This law was championed by Rep. Michael Ted Evans and Sen. Jenifer Branning.

Around the country, urban areas are growing larger and larger. As a city’s population starts building subdivisions in an agricultural area, there are clashes. Even in Mississippi, where agriculture is the No. 1 industry and we remain a very rural state, county and city governments have started putting stricter regulations on agriculture than exist at the state or national levels. This past year, our members added language to the policy book supporting legislation that AGRICULTURAL DISASTER PAYMENT EXEMPTION assures agricultural regulation at the state level is based on sound sciWhen a natural disaster hits our state, farmers are impacted ence. Rep. Chris Johnson and Sen. Jenifer Branning both authored legislation that eliminated duplicative regulation by prohibiting local governments from restricting agricultural operations, traditional farm practices, or forestry activity on land zoned agricultural or not zoned at all. Further, the legislation ensured consistency by requiring that rules from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Forestry Commission have priority on ag land or unzoned land. With the help of Speaker Philip Gunn, Chairman Bill Pigott, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and Chairman Billy Hudson, the bill passed with resounding support. Governor Phil Bryant also supported the measure and is shown here at the bill signing in his Capitol office. L - R: Rep. Chris Johnson (author of the bill), House Ag Chair Bill Pigott, MFBF President Mike Farm Bureau did not have to pass this legislation McCormick, Governor Phil Bryant, Ted Mangum (Mississippi Poultry Association Growers Comalone, as we had strong partners in the Mississippi mittee), Ron Aldridge (National Federation of Independent Business). 8



exponentially. The Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association noticed this was an even larger burden than necessary on producers at the state level because farmers had to pay state income tax on federal disaster payments. We supported MCA’s efforts and assisted in passing a law, authored by Rep. Vince Mangold, that excludes those payments from state income tax.

which should help some of the bridges in need of emergency repair, but there is still a need for major infrastructure legislation. Farm Bureau appreciates the work of the House and Senate, and we hope that leaders on both sides of the Capitol will continue to work out a compromise. The governor has expressed his willingness to call a special session if both sides can agree on a transportation bill.



Farmers, ranchers, and rural Mississippians have no greater support than from Mississippi State and Alcorn State. The ag units and Extension are crucial to the agriculture industry’s success in the state. This year, we were able to help the land-grants receive a 2% appropriations increase for the ag units and Extension. We are grateful for the support of the appropriations chairs in the House and Senate, Chairman John Read and Chairman Buck Clarke, for their support. REPEALERS

Oftentimes, a law will have a sunset date, or “repealer.” This is a date set in statute that the bill will expire. There were two Farm Bureau-supported laws that were set to expire this year. One granted 4-H, FFA, and other agricultural clubs free use of livestock facilities around the state a few times a year. The other protected agritourism farms from liability. We requested that the Legislature remove these repealers, and the House and Senate were happy to oblige.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran resigned effective April 1, and our state lost a true champion of agriculture. Senator Cochran served Mississippi well, and he will be greatly missed. Governor Phil Bryant was tasked with appointing a replacement by the Mississippi Constitution. He chose our Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, who is a cattle farmer from Lincoln County, Cindy Hyde-Smith. We look forward to working with Senator Hyde-Smith in her new role. With the commissioner of agriculture position open, the governor was left with another appointment. He chose Andy Gipson,


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was passed under President Obama’s tenure is being implemented this year. The Produce Safety Rule is a part of FSMA, requiring stricter regulations on produce growers, including inspections by the federal government. Farm Bureau’s produce committee met and submitted policy that was passed at convention supporting the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) implementing this program. This ensures Mississippi produce farmers deal with state inspectors that they already know and trust. We were able to assist MDAC in moving this legislation through. TRANSPORTATION

Rural roads and bridges are the most important policy issue that Farm Bureau has presently. Without a solid infrastructure, Farm Bureau members are not able to travel this state and move their product to market. Mississippi’s infrastructure is in a state of disrepair, with 700, mostly rural, county bridges closed. The Mississippi Economic Council’s projection on funds needed for Mississippi highways is over $300 million a year. Speaker Philip Gunn and the Mississippi House have proposed various funding mechanisms to try and assist the infrastructure crises we have in this state. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and the Senate this year put out a comprehensive plan as well. Neither side was able to get the opposite body to pass their legislation. The Legislature did send $50 million in bonds to the Local System Bridge Program, JULY/AUGUST 2018

MFBF President Mike McCormick greets Mississippi Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson.

a farmer, lawyer, and pastor from Simpson County. Commissioner Gipson served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he was a friend of Farm Bureau, and we believe he will continue to be a friend in his new role. Farm Bureau has had a busy but successful year at the State Capitol. Farm Bureau exists to advocate for our membership, and we hope that you were happy with the results this year. If you ever have questions about what is going on at your Capitol, please feel free to reach out to your regional manager or the public policy staff. We also publish a weekly newsletter, “Capitol Comments,” which can be found on Farm Bureau’s website, and a bi-monthly video update, “Legislature to the Turnrow,” which can be found on our Facebook page. FB MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY


“I like growing and selling produce. That’s how I grew up. In the summer months, we would get up a load of fruit and vegetables and head to the old Farmer’s Market in Jackson. I enjoyed watching my grandfather interact with the other vendors and with his customers.” — Virgil Walker

Working to


Virgil Walker is a devoted agricultural leader who has always taken time from his busy schedule to volunteer with Farm Bureau and other ag organizations devoted to helping Mississippi’s farmers and rural communities remain strong. HIS FARM

“I turned him down the first time he asked, but he kept calling, and I finally agreed to help. I’m glad I did. I like Farm Bureau,” he said. “I go to the state convention every year, and I have made many friends across the state. I can be eating out anywhere in Mississippi, and someone will touch me on the shoulder, and it will be one of my Farm Bureau friends. “Every year at state convention, a group of farmers will gather around the fireplace at our hotel, and we will talk for two or three hours,” he said. “I really enjoy that. We have a lot to share.” In addition to his work with Farm Bureau, Virgil is a board member with the Covington County Cattlemen’s Association. He serves on his county’s 4-H Advisory Committee. He was named Commercial Producer of the Year in Covington County in 2000.

A third-generation farmer, Virgil has a cow-calf, hay and truck crops operation on land near Mt. Olive that his grandfather and father farmed in cotton and truck crops. Virgil, 68, has scaled back in recent years to 100 head of Angus-cross mama cows. He plans to further reduce his herd in the years to come. In the past, he had as many as 150 head of stocker cattle. “Raising cows is an all-day-long, seven-daysa-week job,” he said. “It is especially hard in the winter. My son, who works for the Covington HIS FAMILY & COMMUNITY County school system, helps me out a lot because Virgil worked on the Mississippi Gulf Coast it’s harder now to find people who will work on as a commercial electrician for 15 years before the farm. When I started farming many years returning home to farm. As his parents aged, he ago, an older man helped me, but those people was the only one of the siblings interested in are gone now. The younger generation is intercoming back. When his father grew too old to ested in other things. It seems that once you train farm, he took it up. them, they’re gone.” “My parents told me they would give me Virgil plans to continue with his five to six some land and let me build a house, and it’s the acres of truck crops as long as he is able. best thing I ever did,” he said. “It was a wonder“I like growing and selling produce. That’s ful place to raise my kids out here in the country.” how I grew up,” he said. “In the summer months, Virgil and his wife, Ernestine, who have been we would get up a load of fruit and vegetables sweethearts since the ninth grade, will celebrate and head to the old Farmer’s Market in Jackson. their 50th wedding anniversary this December. VIRGIL WALKER I enjoyed watching my grandfather interact with Ernestine is a nurse in Hattiesburg. In addition the other vendors and with his customers. to the son mentioned earlier, they have a son who “I sell my produce at fruit stands in Rankin County and South is retired from Boswell of Magee and a daughter who is a nurse pracMississippi,” he added. “I also have a U-pick operation.” titioner in Memphis. They have two granddaughters, and Virgil says Virgil enjoys using his grandfather’s old tractor around the farm. one of them has expressed an interest in farming. “It’s a 48 International that I keep fixed up,” he said with a smile. Virgil is a deacon at Mt Olive Macedonia Missionary Baptist “I like the old tractors more than the new ones because I grew up Church, serving with Pastor Perry Feazell. He teaches Sunday school with them.” and has a Baptist Training Union class. He also serves on the board of the local volunteer fire department. FARM BUREAU Virgil helped organize Mt. Olive Ministries, which offers a priVirgil says a friend called him 15 years ago and asked if he would vate Christian school for students in grades K-8. be interested in serving on the Covington County Farm Bureau He was recently featured in the Vol 3, No. 4 issue of Extension Board of Directors. Matters magazine. FB

“Every year at state convention, a group of farmers will gather around the fireplace at our hotel, and we will talk for two or three hours. I really enjoy that. We have a lot to share.”




Alice is pictured with her sons, Sides and George McLeod.





★★★★★★★★★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★


Alice Sides worked alongside her father, Elbert, until “After Mama died, Daddy scaled back to basically cows and hay his death five years ago. Now, she farms alone with help from her and a few row crops. He also always had horses.” two sons, who intend to carry the family’s farming legacy into the future. FARM BUREAU Elbert Sides had a stocker cattle and row crop operation in Tate Alice says Tate County Farm Bureau president and MFBF board and Panola counties. He was also renowned for training and riding member Mike Ferguson encouraged her to become a Farm Bureau cutting horses. He is credited with being among the first ranchers to board member. bring top cutting horses east of the Mississippi River. He also men“I had donated to the Ag in the Classroom program because I think tored many future experts in the cutting horse industry. Today, Alice it’s a wonderful program,” she said. “He thanked me for my donation owns a little over 250 mama cows. She and asked me to serve on the county grows row crops in a sharecrop opera- “Now that my dad is gone, my sons, Sides board because I have horses and I’m a tion with a neighbor. rancher. I am the county women’s chair. and George McLeod, who are 16 and 14 “My mother passed away when “I enjoy my association with Farm I was 18,” Alice said. “I helped look Bureau. I think it’s very helpful to farmyears old, are the ones helping me here. after her until she died, and I stayed ers,” she said. “There aren’t as many on the farm to help my dad. When I They want to do this for a living, so I am farmers as there used to be, so we must married, my husband and I had a reswork together to make sure we have a taurant in Como. When we divorced, teaching them what Daddy taught me. I am strong voice to support agriculture.” I came back to the farm fulltime. It’s trying to make my parents proud.” all I ever really wanted to do. TELLING THE FARMER’S STORY ALICE SIDES “Now that my dad is gone, my sons, Alice does her part to teach others Sides and George McLeod, who are 16 to appreciate agriculture. and 14 years old, are the ones helping me here,” she said. “They want “I arrange the flowers at Como United Methodist Church, and to do this for a living, so I am teaching them what Daddy taught me. I was asked by a friend to present a garden club program. With my I am trying to make my parents proud. program, I talked about how to arrange flowers, but I also shared “I always told my grandmother that my dad would teach me all I how I care for my pastureland,” she said. needed to know, and I was right,” Alice added with a smile. “I have “When I pick up my sons from school, the other kids see me a degree from Ole Miss, but I got the degree (in Home Econom- with my spurs on and ask about the cows,” she said. “I always have ics) for my dad. He always wanted me to stay around here, but he a “Cow Fact of the Day” to give them. Kids think all they get from also wanted to make sure I had something to fall back on in case I cows is meat. They don’t know that soap and leather and medicine needed it.” come from cow byproducts.” Occasionally, in the summer months, a group of high school boys FARM LIFE helps out with work around the farm, especially with the fencing. Alice and her sons run the farm alone, but friends help them “Most of them have never worked on a farm or been around work the cows and hook up equipment as needed. Alice says she cows,” Alice said. “It’s amazing that they don’t know the difference wants to continue to improve and grow the operation so that she between a bull and a steer or a cow and a heifer. So it is a good learnwill have something to leave the boys and their children. ing experience for them.” “I’m a third-generation farmer,” she said. “Daddy moved here It is clear that Alice not only intends to carry on her family’s farmfrom Coffeeville to run this for his father. It was larger back then, ing legacy, she is determined to teach consumers to appreciate what but he sold land to where it became a smaller row crop and cattle farmers do for all of us every single day. operation. At one time, he had 800 to 900 stockers. “People don’t realize how much they need farmers,” she said. FB JULY/AUGUST 2018



“I wake up every morning so thankful to live here in the country.� joanie word


1839 Family Farm Dates Back to 1839



ongtime Farm Bureau volunteer leaders Herbert and Joanie Bureau and has served on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Word of Monroe County farm cattle, soybeans and hay on (MFBF) Board of Directors. She is Monroe County Farm Bureau land that has been in his family since 1839. Women’s Chair and was elected at state convention to serve as Dis“I am the fifth generation to farm this land,” Herbert said. “My trict 4 Women’s Chair. She succeeds Jody Bailey, who retired after son, Herbert Word III (Trey), is the sixth generation. I have a degree many years of faithful service. in physical education from Mississippi State, but my heart has always “We love Farm Bureau,” Herbert said. “It’s a great organization. been here. I couldn’t wait to continue my family’s farming tradition.” We like what it accomplishes for farmers. Farm Bureau isn’t afraid Herbert’s ancestor from Wales, John Word, came to America in to tackle the big issues, like eminent domain and so many others. 1658 and settled in Kent County, Virginia. His great-great-grand- We’ve made many lifelong friends through Farm Bureau.” father, Samuel Word, moved to Monroe County, after stops in the “Herbert got me involved in Farm Bureau,” Joanie said. “I still Carolinas and northern Alabama, and settled 1,800 acres through serve as our county women’s chair, but I’m excited to serve my first a land grant. year on the State Women’s Committee. These hardworking, dedi“In the beginning, the farm grew mostly cotton but also corn to cated women are responsible for carrying out so many important feed the animals,” Herbert said. “Over time, it came to include beef programs each year.” cattle, milk cows and pigs. My grandfather, Thomas Lawler Word, also raised chickens and turkeys to sell. He would take turkeys to GIVING BACK Memphis and Birmingham during the holidays. My father, HerThe Words enjoy giving back to their church and community. bert, helped pioneer poultry houses around here. He also had an Herbert is a member of Wren Volunteer Fire Department, where he integrated hog parlor and a custom feed operation.” serves as board president and captain. The Words are active members Herbert’s great-grandfather, William Baker Word, served as a of Wren Presbyterian Church, where Joanie is the church pianist. captain in the Civil War. He was shot in the head and survived the A licensed auctioneer who still attends equipment sellouts and surgery to extract the musket ball. Partially paralyzed, he lived on farm auctions, Herbert serves as the auctioneer for our MFBF Young the family farm into his 90s. Farmers & Ranchers live auctions at state convention each year. In the past, Herbert cooked barbecue professionally, as a grillmaster for FARM LIFE 2 Brothers BBQ Sauce. He was featured in a Mario Batali Nascar Joanie, who has a degree in elementary education from Missis- cookbook, and has even developed his own barbecue sauce. sippi University for Women, is a retired schoolteacher who enjoys The Words have a 2,000-square-foot camp house, with an outhelping Herbert around the farm. door grill and a kitchen equipped with a commercial stove, which is “Herbert and I check on the cows each morning, and I help him used for family gatherings and by deer hunters. Herbert started cookfeed them,” she said. “I also take lunch to the field, when he and Trey ing at the camp house on the Fourth of July for a group of family are out there working. I run errands and pick up parts. I help move and friends, and the gathering quickly became an annual tradition. equipment from the field and open gates when Herbert is feeding Joanie is also a very good cook. or loading cows. I even go with him to his deer stand. “I substitute teach a little now, and whenever I get home, I head FAMILY PRIDE straight for our ATV,” she said. “The hills and bottomland are so More than anything else, the Words are proud of their family. beautiful in this northern Prairie region. Looking at the land or just They have four children and 12 grandchildren. watching our cows graze relaxes me immediately. “This past Easter Sunday, we had 21 family members seated on “I wake up every morning so thankful to live here in the country.” our side of the church,” Joanie said with a smile. “We were afraid that side of the church would begin leaning over!” FARM BUREAU Joanie cooks for her family every Sunday, so imagine her joy Herbert and Joanie have served as Farm Bureau volunteer lead- when she got to cook for so many family members on Easter Sunday. ers for over 30 years. He is president of the Monroe County Farm “It was a very meaningful day and a whole lot of fun,” she said. FB

Herbert’s ancestor from wales, john word, came to america in 1658 and settled in kent county, virginia. His great-great-grandfather, samuel word, moved to monroe county, after stops in the carolinas and northern alabama, and settled 1,800 acres through a land grant. JULY/AUGUST 2018




Mississippi Agriculture Bids Farewell to a True Public Servant B Y J U S T I N F E R G U S O N, M I S S I S S I P P I FA R M B U R E AU F E D E R AT I O N N AT I O N A L A F FA I R S C O O R D I N ATO R & C O M M O D I T Y C O O R D I N ATO R F O R M A J O R R O W C R O P S

On March 5, 2018, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran announced his intentions to retire from the U.S. Senate on April 1, 2018, following a 46-year career of public service to the citizens of Mississippi in Congress. Senator Cochran was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978. Mississippians, especially farmers and ranchers, have not had a better advocate in Congress than Senator Cochran. He served on the Senate Agriculture Committee from 1979 to 2018, chaired the committee from 2003-2005, and served as a ranking member from 2013-2015. Between 1979 and 2018, he contributed to seven farm bills enacted into law. Senator Cochran’s hand can be seen in so many areas of federal agricultural policy. Specifically, he was an advocate for the Mississippi catfish industry, federal food aid and nutrition programs, agricultural research, and flood control programs. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation honored Senator Cochran in 1990 with its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. He has received hundreds of other accolades from the agriculture community during his time in Congress. In addition to supporting Mississippi’s agriculture industry, Senator Cochran helped to secure much-needed federal funds for recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He also pushed for increased federal funding for historically black colleges and universities and contracts for shipbuilding, a major industry in his state. He served on the very powerful Senate Appropriations Committee from 1987 to 2018, and as the committee chair from 2005-2007 and from 2015 to 2018. He served as ranking member from 2007 to 2013. Here’s what numerous public officials and state agricultural leaders had to say about U.S. Senator Thad Cochran at the time of his retirement announcement: U.S. SENATOR ROGER WICKER:

“Thad Cochran will go down as one of the greatest leaders in our state’s history. He has been called the ‘quiet persuader’ for good reason. He commands respect through his tireless pursuit to help make Mississippi and our country a better, safer, more prosperous place to live. He has made us proud in so many ways. I wish my 18


friend the best in retirement and thank him for a job well done.” GOVERNOR PHIL BRYANT:

“Today, one of Mississippi’s greatest public servants shared with me his plans to retire. Senator Thad Cochran’s service ushered in an era of unprecedented influence for our state and will benefit generations to come. He was a leader in Washington and a powerful advocate for every Mississippian. I will always be grateful to Senator Cochran for his friendship and support during my time of service. Deborah and I wish him and Kay the very best as they begin this new chapter.” MIKE MCCORMICK, President of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation:

“Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation commends and applauds the lifetime of public service that U.S. Senator Thad Cochran has devoted to the citizens of the state of Mississippi. Mississippi farmers and ranchers have not had a better friend and advocate than in Thad Cochran over his career in Congress. His presence and steady hand of leadership will truly be missed. Farm Bureau wishes him the best in his retirement from the U.S. Senate.” DAVID WAIDE, Past President of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation:

“I was present when Thad Cochran was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978. My thought then and now was that he was the strongest advocate farmers could place in the U.S. Congress. My belief in Senator Cochran proved true throughout his 40 years of service. He was a strong proponent of agriculture because he believed our way of producing food and fiber was essential to national security. I became president of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation in 1996, and as I visited with Senator Cochran time and again during his tenure, he reminded me that sound agricultural policy and a strong domestic agriculture are essential to our nation’s security. He carried his thoughts to the Senate floor and was successful with numerous farm bills that not only supported our nation’s farmers but gave American consumers access to an abundant, affordable and safe supply of food and fiber. Senator Cochran was a strong advocate of the research and Extension programs which have helped make the United States the envy of the world for our safe and abundant production of food and fiber.” DR. MARK E. KEENUM, President of Mississippi State University: “One of the transformational periods of my life was the opportunity to serve as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. I learned so much from Senator Cochran about building relationJULY/AUGUST 2018


ships, resolving conflicts, and making difficult but necessary decisions. More than anything, I value the lessons I learned from him about how to treat people. History will record that Thad Cochran was one of Mississippi’s greatest and most impactful leaders, but I will remember him as simply an honorable, kind and decent man who put others first.” GEORGE KING, President of Delta Council:

“Thad Cochran has been a true hero for agriculture, rural development and the citizens of the state of Mississippi. He knew how to get things done that had such a big impact, yet he did all of it with the same humble personality that was reflective of his Mississippi upbringing. We know the Delta and the state of Mississippi are going to miss his steady and constant leadership, but the Congress and the United States will also suffer from losing a true public servant.” JOE SANDERSON, Chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, Inc.:

tor Cochran for his dedicated service and support of agriculture and Mississippi. We congratulate him on his well-earned retirement.” HARRY SIMMONS, Chairman of The Catfish Institute & President of Simmons Farm-Raised Catfish:

Throughout his 40 years in Washington, Senator Thad Cochran has been the strongest of advocates for the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish industry. His leadership and unwavering commitment to the people of Mississippi provided stability, hope and sound guidance as he and our farmers worked head-on to meet the challenges of the day. Throughout his tenure of service, Senator Cochran has exemplified the quintessential Southern gentleman to everyone he met, all the while maintaining a keen eye on the needs of his constituents and neighbors back home. He is as much a shrewd negotiator as he is a sharp conversationalist and snappy dresser, and his presence on Capitol Hill will be sincerely missed. Congratulations to you, Senator Cochran, on a job well done for all of Mississippi and for our great nation.

“As a congressman and later as a U.S. senator, Thad A PROGRAM TO Cochran has always HONOR THAD been a champion for COCHRAN agriculture in MisIn November MFBF and MSU representatives posed with U.S. Senator Thad Cochran after announcing a new leadersissippi. He under- ship program named in his honor. 2016, Mississippi stood the impact Farm Bureau Fedagriculture and the poultry industry had on the lives of his constit- eration and Mississippi State University launched a new leadership uents and the economy of this state. He was always ready to use his program for emerging leaders in the Mississippi agriculture industry. wisdom and influence to help the industry grow. Many thanks for Named in honor of Senator Cochran, the Thad Cochran Agricultural all you have done for Mississippi, agriculture and the poultry indus- Leadership Program (TCALP) is a premier educational and personal try in your many years of service and Godspeed in your retirement.” development opportunity for those who take part in the program. Participants gain exposure to successful and innovative businesses GARY BLAIR, Past President of the Mississippi Forestry Association: to improve economic literacy and community decision-making prac“Senator Cochran has been a steadfast supporter of forestry and tices, and they sharpen their awareness of policy-making and legthe forest industry in Mississippi throughout his time in office. Both islative processes through governmental analysis coupled with an forest products manufacturing and landowners have always been investigation of influence. Class members deepen their understandable to count on his tireless efforts to ensure that Mississippi is a ing of the full realm of agriculture and rural development to support leader in sustainability, research and innovation. Thank you, Sena- vibrant communities, creating a vision for the future of Mississippi. tor Cochran, for your efforts through the years and congratulations on your retirement, as it is well deserved.” JOB WELL DONE Again, Farm Bureau volunteer leaders and staff from across the DR. NANCY JACKSON, President of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s state commend U.S. Senator Thad Cochran for his many years of Association: exemplary leadership and service to agriculture and the state of Mis“Senator Cochran has long served the people of Mississippi and sissippi. We wish for him the best in his retirement. our nation with great dignity, using his steadfast resolve to ensure Senator Cochran, your lifetime of public service can best be sumpassage of vital farm programs benefitting landowners, farmers and marized with these three words: cattle producers. A tip of our hats and a sincere thank you to Sena“Job Well Done.” FB JULY/AUGUST 2018




★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Region 1 Regional Manager

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Lobbyist There I was in my high school’s library — senior year — making through duffel bags of money or favors to our congressmen or any big plans about what I was to do with my life. While many of my other dishonorable means. We accomplish our goals through using classmates had their titles picked out and the salaries they would the First Amendment right to petition the government. Petitioning make, I saw little focus on why they were choosing their career path. these days means visiting our legislators and expressing our needs. My choice went a little differently. I told the guidance counselor It means writing comments to EPA, USDA, DEQ or any other what I wanted to do and why, but admitted I had no idea what you regulatory body about how and why their regulations are affectwould even call the profession or who did such a thing. ing our livelihoods. I vividly remember telling her, “I’d like to do something in agriIt means bringing the Mississippi farmer or rancher to the State culture, working with and helping people. I’d like to make a differ- Capitol to tell his/her story about how a crumbling bridge is costence for farmers, but I also have an interest in policy. Lawmaking. ing farmers money that they could otherwise be putting back into That sort of thing.” She began to chuckle and said, “Who in the the economy. Or lobbying can also mean bringing an elected offiworld would pay you to do that?! Let’s cial to the farm to see how government think of something else a little more assistance has helped him/her be a better realistic.” I replied, “Well what about conservationist. lobbyist? I’ve read that is similar to my Lobbying is simply defined as “seekinterests.” ing to influence.” It is a verb or an action, Like most, my high school counselor and not a person. That is what we try to didn’t have a very good reaction to the accomplish for you, the member. Actions word “lobbyist.” She expressed that view of influence. Everyone can lobby as an by suggesting I focus my senior paper on individual, but as less than 2% of the something nobler than a lying, underpopulation are farmers or less than 1% handed, yellow-bellied lobbyist (withof our national population are Mississipout necessarily using those exact words). pians, our efforts are far more influential Everywhere you turn these days, there together as a collective voice. is national media filling your ears with all Whether you are ready to volunteer the drama of Washington, D.C. Multitime with this organization or not, there ple 24-hour, 365-days-a-year media stations focus on policymakers is one surefire way to have influence in this great country’s democand government banter nonstop. They even often mention lobby- racy. That is your right to vote. Mississippi has another season of very ists but, a majority of the time, in a light much like my guidance important elections coming up this November, and we are encourcounselor saw them. aging all of our members to make sure they voice their opinions at What you don’t hear very often is what policy is actually getting the polls. Now is the time to register if you have not already done so! created, amended or repealed. With constant national news, coupled You will see our media campaign throughout the year, entitled with social media, it seems the American public has grown more “We Farm. We Vote.” We hope you prove that slogan true by showinterested in the bickering than the outcome. ing up to cast your ballot. Without a strong voter turnout, rural life Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is still focused on outcomes. will lose its voice. Keeping elected officials that value this state’s No. While my title is not “lobbyist,” I am one of around 35 employees 1 industry and those who work in it will continue a strong presence and countless volunteer leaders at Mississippi Farm Bureau Feder- for MFBF and you in D.C. and Jackson. Without a trip to the polls ation (MFBF) who work toward bettering the lives and livings of to cast a ballot, you’re putting that influence in jeopardy. Mississippi’s farmers, ranchers and YOU, our Farm Bureau member. I truly didn’t know what to title myself in that English paper. It is literally our mission statement. What I did later find out is that there is a place to work or volunteer How do we do that? Well, our chief function is to lobby your that does exactly what I was hoping to accomplish. Whether your interests. Whether at the U.S. Capitol in D.C. or at the State Capitol title with Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is member, volunin Jackson, we are making sure the laws being debated have the inter- teer leader or staff (like me), we can all be proud that our collective ests of our farmers, ranchers and rural members heard loud and clear. voice is lobbying our elected officials for a better life and living in When I say loud and clear — we don’t accomplish that Mississippi every day. FB 20



Federation Welcomes New Staff Members

Jon Kalahar

Jon Kalahar and Jimmi Phillips have joined the staff of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF). Jon is our communications and public relations coordinator. Jimmi has joined the Accounting Department as a staff accountant. Jon has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Mississippi State University. He worked 10 years in television before moving to public relations. He was previously employed by The Salvation Army, where he covered Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Jon earned his accreditation in public relations during this time.


Jimmi Phillips

Jon and his wife, Samantha, live in Madison with their five children and two dogs. Jimmi is a 2000 graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She received her Master’s in Business Administration from Mississippi College in 2006. Prior to joining MFBF, Jimmi was the comptroller for the First Presbyterian Church Corporation in Jackson. Please join us in welcoming Jon and Jimmi into our Farm Bureau family. FB



Asparagus Casserole

Festive Eggs and Sausage

Ham Puffs

1 c. saltine cracker crumbs 2 lg. cans asparagus 4 lg. eggs, hard boiled ½ stick butter 1 sm. pkg. sharp cheddar cheese

1 lb. sausage 1 (8-oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained 12 eggs 1 ½ c. Bisquick 1 ½ tsp. pepper 1 c. Ro-Tel tomatoes ½ c. green onions, chopped; tops, too 2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 c. milk 1 ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. oregano

1 can flaky biscuits 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cheddar cheese 1 (1-lb.) pkg. deli ham

Butter casserole dish; spread 1/2 of cracker crumbs on bottom of dish. Spread one can of asparagus and 2 sliced eggs over crumbs. Dot with ½ cheese and ½ butter. Pour half of white sauce (see recipe below) over layer. Repeat layers and top with remaining cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. White Sauce 6 T. butter 6 T. flour 3 c. milk Mix together and cook just enough to melt butter. Peggy McKey Hinds County

Brown sausage and drain. Mix sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and cheese and place in a 13x9x2-inch Pyrex dish. Beat eggs, milk, Bisquick, salt, pepper and oregano, and pour over ingredients already in dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden.

Peel each flake of the biscuits apart. Use the flakes to line the cups of a small muffin tin. Slice the ham into small pieces and mix it with the cheese. Fill the cups with the mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 or 8 minutes or until biscuit flakes are golden brown. Betty Mills Montgomery County

Sandra Waide Clay County

COUNTRY COOKING, VOLUME V: These recipes are from “Country Cooking, Volume V,” available at most county offices. The cost is $20. If you order a cookbook from the state office, you will pay $20 plus postage. For more information, contact Pam Jones at (601) 977-4854. 22



2018 Women’s Ag Tour

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Agricultural Tour, held every two years, is set for Oct. 18-19, 2018. Stops will include Bull Bottom Farms in Duck Hill, Hopson Plantation & Commissary in Clarksdale, Orchard Farms in Como, Homestead Farms Greenhouse in Coldwater, and Cedar Hill Farm in Hernando. Tour participants will also visit the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs and Woodson Ridge in Oxford. For more information, contact Dedra Luke at or (601) 977-4169. FB


Youth Safety Camp Gray Center, Canton

JULY 25-26 Summer Commodity Conference Natchez AUG. 1

Ag Ambassador/Farm Woman of the Year Deadline

OCT. 18-19

Women’s Ag Tour

NOV. 17 MFBF Tailgate Hosted by YF&R MSU DEC. 1-3 MFBF Convention Jackson JULY/AUGUST 2018




The two most frequent questions we’re asked about bats are as follows: (1) How do I attract bats? (2) How do I get rid of bats? For this article, we’re going to address the first question. The primary way to encourage bats to your area is to provide suitable habitat, which includes adequate roosting and foraging sites. A diverse wooded area with plenty of older cavity trees and uncluttered understory vegetation is best, especially where there are open areas for feeding and a water supply nearby. However, constructed bat houses can provide alternative roosts for several species of Mississippi bats if they are designed and installed properly. The bat houses described herein refer to traditional-style houses that may be installed by the private landowner. The recommendations below are based on personal experience and many years of bat-house research, conducted by Bat Conservation International (BCI), the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) and other bat conservation and management groups. DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

Bat houses can be constructed of different types of wood, but exterior-grade plywood or cedar works best. Pressure-treated wood should never be used because it contains chemicals that may be harmful to bats. Plywood for exteriors should be at least 1/2” thick. Use 3/8” plywood for roosting partitions, as this reduces the overall weight and increases roosting space. Attachment with galvanized screws is preferred to nails. External dimensions are variable, but larger and taller boxes are usually more successful. BCI recommends the house be at least 2’ tall, have compartments at least 20” tall and 14” wide, and have a landing area at least 3-6” extending below the entrance. However, OBC has experienced success with somewhat smaller boxes. Providing ventilation slots is extremely important in Mississippi because of the high summer temperatures. They should be ½” wide and extend from side to side about 6” above the bottom (front vent); a vertical vent should be included at each end of the rear chamber of multiple-chamber boxes. The inside should be roughened, grooved or lined with 1/8” polyethylene plastic mesh; lining with plastic mesh usually works best. Spacing of roosting compartments (chambers) is equally important. Bat houses may have single or multiple roosting compartments, but those with two to four compartments will support more bats and provide alternatives for roosting space. Roosting compartments should ideally be ¾” wide and never more than 1” wide. Boxes may be purchased or constructed using specifications provided by a reputable conservation organization. Beware of commercially available boxes that are poorly designed, especially if compartments have openings that are too wide. These boxes become death traps for bats because they allow for predation by raccoons, blue jays and snakes. 24


Exterior surfaces should be painted, caulked and sealed to provide a draft-free interior. Outer surfaces, landings and entry areas should be painted or stained with a coat of primer, followed by two coats of flat-exterior, water-based paint; oil-based products should not be used. Adding a tin roof with a 1” overhang will help protect the house from the elements. INSTALLATION

Bat houses can be mounted on buildings, poles or trees. However, tree-mounted boxes generally receive less sun, are more vulnerable to predators and are often more subject to decay. Data maintained by BCI show that boxes on trees have the least success (20%), with boxes on poles (52%) and buildings (64%) having considerably greater use. Bat houses should generally be mounted 12-20’ above the ground, but 10-12’ may be adequate. Singlechamber houses work best when mounted onto the side of buildings. When mounting on buildings, it is a good idea to place several boxes side by side to provide alternative roosting opportunities. Multiple-chamber houses are best mounted on poles that are installed at least 20-25’ from the nearest tree branches. Mounting boxes back to back or in sets of three will give bats alternative roosting areas because mother bats often move their young between boxes due to temperature variation, parasites and other factors. A variety of pole types on which to mount boxes have been used with success. Metal poles are usually stronger and longer-lasting, but wooden 4x4” or 4x6” wooden poles are often used and are more convenient for attaching multiple units. The back of boxes may be attached directly to the pole, or two poles may be positioned so that the sides of boxes are attached. Holes for the support poles should be dug at least 3’ deep to provide stability; the hole should be wide enough to allow several inches of clearance for adding gravel and concrete. The bases of poles may be wrapped with galvanized sheet metal to help avoid predation by raccoons and snakes. Never attach cables or guy wire to the poles, because young bats may strike the wires and become injured or killed. Further information on constructing and mounting boxes is available online from BCI at PLACEMENT

Now, where do I put my bat house? Proper location is extremely important and will often be the determining factor for their potential use. Bat houses located within ¼ mile from a water source (pond, lake or stream) have a better chance for occupancy than those located away from water. Placement in areas with a mixture of habitat types (woodlands, open fields, pastures, wetland areas) that provide an abundant supply of insects will receive greatest use (all Mississippi bats are insect eaters). JULY/AUGUST 2018

Constructed bat houses are generally more successful in rural areas rather than a traditional suburban neighborhood. In fact, care should be taken to not attract bats where they might occupy human dwellings. The bat house should face outward along a woodland edge rather than in a forest interior. Houses do best when they are placed about 20’ out from the wood’s edge. It is generally recommended that houses face in a southerly to easterly direction in Mississippi. The most important factor is that houses should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. BAT USE

A well-designed multi-chamber bat house will potentially provide a roost for 200 to 300 bats. Although, nationwide, many species of bats use artificial structures, the primary occupants in Mississippi are the evening bat, big brown bat and Brazilian free-tailed bat. The southeastern myotis and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat will use structures specially designed for them but will rarely enter a standardsized bat box. Bat houses are designed to attract maternity colonies and may not receive winter use. New houses should be installed in late winter or early spring before bats begin to establish maternity colonies. Patience will be required, because it may take three to five years before a bat house is occupied, and it will often be necessary to experiment with location.


Unlike birdhouses, bat houses do not require an annual cleaning. However, if wasps become a problem, their nests should be removed in winter or early spring. Houses should also be checked for cracks or other problems that may cause leaks. Guano accumulating beneath a box may need to be removed from time to time. (It makes excellent fertilizer.) Bats, especially juveniles, occasionally become injured in boxes and fall to the ground. Children should be told to not handle a dead or dying bat found beneath a bat box. Instead, an adult wearing gloves should remove the bat and dispose of it in a closed container. Finding a dead bat does not necessarily indicate a problem with disease, but the rare incidence of rabies requires caution. If bat boxes are located in areas where strangers may come upon them, interpretive signs describing their use and value may be necessary. Remotely placed boxes should also be checked routinely for vandalism. FB Chester Martin is a retired research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. He has published approximately 40 articles on bats and is founder of the Mississippi Bat Working Group (see He is also an accomplished wildlife artist. Shea Staten is a natural resource specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Sardis Lake. He has worked at both Arkabutla Lake and Sardis Lake during his 14-year career with the Corps. He serves on the Mississippi Bat Working Group Board of Directors.

County Annual Meetings Calhoun County Farm Bureau Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. Multipurpose Bldg., Pittsboro DeSoto County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 7:30 a.m. Farm Bureau Office, Hernando Forrest County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. Forrest County Extension Office Hattiesburg Humphreys County Farm Bureau Wednesday, July 11, at 12 p.m. Farm Bureau Office, Belzoni

Union County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. County Fairgrounds — Ladies Bldg. New Albany

Webster County Farm Bureau Thursday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Eupora

Lowndes County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Columbus Marshall County Farm Bureau Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6:30 p.m. MS Extension Center 120 South Spring St., Holly Springs JULY/AUGUST 2018



2018 Women’s Leadership Conference The 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference, with the theme “Putting the Pieces Together,” was held in Natchez in early April. Pictured are Dr. Ruth Nichols of Alcorn State University, who served as the luncheon speaker; 2017 Teacher of the Year Angel Pilcher, who talked about teaching agriculture to students; Debbie



Hackler, who talked about how she tells the farmer’s story; and humorist Clyde Ray Webber, who served as the dinner speaker. Also included are photos of an Ag in the Classroom “creative” equine project and an Ag Communications Boot Camp “misconceptions about agriculture” project. FB





Three-Time State Champ

Colton Mewbourn, 13, of Webster County is a three-time state champion in miniature bull riding, titles he won in Mississippi Junior High Rodeo Association competition. He currently serves as vice president of the association, having been elected by his peers. Last fall, Colton placed eighth in his division in world MBR competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. He placed fourth in his division in world finals in Junior National Finals Rodeo competition in 2016. Colton is a member of the Little Britches Rodeo Association, the Mississippi Junior High Rodeo Association, and is Junior National Finals Rodeo Qualified on the Southeastern Circuit. Colton began his rodeo involvement when he was two. His parents participated in rodeo activities, and he wanted to do something, too. They let him compete in mutton busting (or sheep riding), and from there, he progressed to riding mini bulls. His family raises mini bulls to this day. His coaches include Chance Smart of Philadelphia, who is retired from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and Chris Shiv28


ers, a two-time Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion who is over the Miniature Bull Riders Association (MBR). Colton practices at Leal’s in Texas and at M5 Ranch in Webster County, where he practices his team roping. If you are interested in riding mini bulls, Colton and his family advise you to remember to purchase and wear the safety helmet and vest. They emphasize that Colton attends safety clinics and works with excellent coaches. Colton says he wants to thank his Lord and Savior for keeping him safe. For more information, contact Colton’s mother, Kristi, at (662) 285-8495, or email her at Colton and his family wish to express their appreciation to Attala County Farm Bureau for helping to sponsor his rodeo activities. His grandparents, Lyn and Liz Black, are Attala County Farm Bureau members. Colton is a devout member of Maben Church of God. He plays football and baseball. He was named a beau in Beauty and Beau competition at his school. FB JULY/AUGUST 2018

2018 Secretaries’ Conference The 2018 Secretaries’ Conference, with the theme “Farm Life,” was held in late April in Flowood and enjoyed over 100 participants. Pictured are members of the 2018 Secretary Advisory Committee who organized the event. They are Misty Woolfolk, Tate, Region 1; Ranecia Wardlaw, Lafayette, Region 2; Kim Ayers, Carroll, Region 3; Brenda Wheat, Lowndes, Region 4; Kayla Williams, Copiah, Region 5; Christi McElhenney, Newton, Region 6; Jean Brown, Jefferson, Region 7; and Veda Wade, Forrest, Region 8. Also pictured are speakers Shelby and Marlo Beason, Beason Family Farm near Philadelphia, who spoke about life as a farmer and a farmer’s wife;


MFBF Deputy General Counsel/Public Policy Coordinator Lee Thorne, who talked about ethics in the workplace; Matt Harrison, Enterprise Security Manager with Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance, who spoke on cybersecurity in the current environment; and luncheon speakers, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) President Mike McCormick and Jefferson County Farm Bureau board member Barbara Bundy, who talked about “Farming Like it Used to Be.” Also included is a representative photo of the tours of the MFBF Building and the reception with the Federation and insurance staffs. FB



See Page 27 for Member Benefits!

Ag Book of the Year

The 2018 Ag Book of the Year is “First Peas to the Table” by Susan Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. Thomas Jefferson loved to garden. In the spring, he and his neighbors competed to see whose peas would be ready to eat first. Two hundred years later, Maya’s class is having its own First Peas to the Table garden contest. Will a secret tip from Thomas Jefferson help Maya win? This lighthearted classroom story presents scientific and historical information and appealing watercolors with botanical accuracy sure to delight gardeners of any age! “First Peas to the Table” sells for $10 and includes a teacher’s guide. To order, call Pam Jones at (601) 977-4854. FB 30



Farm Bureau Chicks T-shirt & New Color for MS Ag T-shirt Comfort Color Farm Bureau Chicks T-shirts are now available in a mustard color, with short sleeves only. Sizes small to 3XL. The shirt sells for $12. The Comfort Color Mississippi Ag T-shirt is now available in a watermelon color, with short sleeves only, and sells for $18. Sizes small to 3XL. It is still available in Flo-Blue in short and long sleeves. The short-sleeved T-shirt sells for $18, and the longsleeved T-shirt sells for $23. To order, contact Pam Jones at (601) 977-4854 or email her at FB JULY/AUGUST 2018



Mississippi Farm Country Vol. 94, No 4  

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau Membership Publication, Mississippi Agriculture, Mississippi Farmer...

Mississippi Farm Country Vol. 94, No 4  

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau Membership Publication, Mississippi Agriculture, Mississippi Farmer...