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M I S S I S S I P P I

VOLUME 87 NO. 3

FARM M AY/JUNE 2 0 11

COUNTRY

Young Farmers

Agriculture’s Future A Publication of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation • MSFB.org

MISSISSIPPI FARM CO UNTRY Volume 87 Number 3 May/June 2011

M ississippi Fa rm Country (ISSN 1529-9600) magazine is published bimonthly by the Mississippi Farm Bureau® Federation. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICES 6311 Ridgewood Road Jackson, MS 39211 601-977-4153 E DITOR - Glynda Phillips AD VE RTISING National - Paul Hurst - 1-800-397-8908 Southeastern U.S. – Angela Thompson 1-800-227-8244 ext. 4242 FARM BUREAU OFFICERS President – Randy Knight Vice President – Donald Gant Vice President – Ted Kendall Vice President – Reggie Magee Treasurer – Billy Davis Corporate Secretary – Ilene Sumrall FARM BURE AU DIRECT ORS Dr. Jim Perkins, Iuka Mike Graves, Ripley B.A. Teague, New Albany Bill Ryan Tabb, Cleveland Coley L. Bailey, Jr., Coffeeville Neal Huskison, Pontotoc Jeffrey R. Tabb, Walthall Bobby Moody, Louisville Wanda Hill, Isola James Foy, Canton William Jones, Meridian James Brewer, Shubuta Stanley Williams, Mt. Olive Lonnie Fortner, Port Gibson Moody Davis, Brookhaven Mike McCormick, Union Church D. P. O’Quinn, Purvis Gerald Moore, Petal Clifton Hicks, Leakesville Ken Mallette, Vancleave Betty Mills, Winona Noble Guedon, Natchez

CONTENTS

Features

8 YOUNG FARMERS

Mississippi can be proud of its young farmer leaders. Come with us as we visit with some of these very capable and talented men and women.

2 0 SOLVE THE MYSTERY Which Pike County town grew up around the railroad? Read the clues and make your guess.

2 2 FARM TO FORK Chef Luis Bruno of Hilton Jackson favors locally-grown foods. Chef Bruno will participate in the 2011 Farm Families of Mississippi ag promotion campaign.

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

Departments

HONORARY V ICE -PRE SID ENTS Louis Breaux, David H. Bennett Warren Oakley

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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 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. Design: Coopwood Communications, Inc.

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President’s Message Commodity Update: Forestry Commodity Update: Dairy

About the cover Humphreys County row crop farmers Pepper and Crystal Roberts enjoy teaching school children and others about agriculture. Read about these 2010 State Achievement Award winners inside. They are pictured with their children Jillian, James and Joseph. Photo by Greg Gibson. MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Randy Knight, President Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

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Young Farmers Are Agriculture’s Future

s I travel the state, attending meetings and visiting with Farm Bureau leaders, I am always impressed with the caliber of our young farmer members. I had thought that the young farmer group that I was involved with some twenty years ago was without equal (and in many respects they were), but with each successive generation, it seems that our young farmers are becoming better educated, more technologically savvy, and more involved in their communities. This level of knowledge and commitment is important because farming isn’t easy. Concerns with the economy, land availability, activist groups, and governmental regulations often weigh all of us down. And yet, despite the difficult and often arbitrary nature of our profession, Mississippi’s young farmers continue to rise to the challenge. Today’s young farmers and ranchers are skilled managers and dedicated environmental stewards. They work hard to ensure that their operations are successful, and they take excellent care of the land and water so that these valuable resources will be around for generations to come. Young farmers want their children to receive good educations and follow their dreams. Many are hopeful those dreams will lead them right back home to the farm. Young farmers today take time from their busy schedules to participate in organizations like Farm Bureau. They know that our Young Farmers and Ranchers program is an excellent way to sharpen their leadership skills, gain media experience, work with legislative issues, and network with farmers across the state. Take a moment and look around. I think you will discover that many of our current agricultural leaders were shaped by a past involvement in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers program. Bill Ryan Tabb of Bolivar County and Coley Little Bailey of Yalobusha County are perfect examples. These former State Achievement Award winners and YF&R State Committee chairs have served as county Farm Bureau presidents, state commodity advisory committee chairs, and state directors. They also hold leadership positions in other agricultural organizations on both the local and state levels. Bill Ryan and Coley presently serve on our newly-formed

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Young Farmers and Ranchers Steering Committee, which is charged with reviewing the current program and suggesting positive changes for the future. Farm Bureau wants the very best Young Farmers and Ranchers program in the nation, and we won’t settle for less. If you live in the central or southern regions of our state, you will see a television commercial featuring Bill Ryan airing during this year’s Farm Families of Mississippi ag promotion campaign. Bill Ryan Tabb and Coley Little Bailey are excellent spokespersons for agriculture, and we are blessed to have them in our Farm Bureau family. This issue of our magazine visits several outstanding farmers currently involved in our Young Farmers and Ranchers program. I invite you to read about these very capable and talented young men and women. If they are not already involved, please take the time to encourage the young farmers in your community to participate in our program. Farm Bureau needs these young men and women who are just starting out with a light in their eyes and a boundless optimism and faith within their hearts. These young men and women are agriculture’s future.

Legislative Update At presstime, the Animal Cruelty bill that Farm Bureau and The Humane Society of the U.S. worked on together had passed both houses of the Legislature and was headed to the governor for his signature. The bill helps protect domesticated dogs and cats but also looks out for the interests of livestock farmers. Visit our Web site at www.msfb.org. The Legislature has also begun redrawing the state’s 122 House districts and 52 Senate districts to reflect population changes revealed by the 2010 Census. Visit www.msjrc.state.ms.us.

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COMMODITY UPDATE: FORESTRY

Sawtimber prices down, inventories building Ken Martin, MFBF Forestry Advisory Committee Chair Samantha Webb, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Forestry

The fourth-quarter timber price report for Mississippi (available at www.msucares.com/forestry) indicates the lowest state average stumpage price for pine sawtimber since the beginning of the housing downturn. That price is $25.88, which represents a decline of nearly 47 percent since early 2005 at the peak of the U.S. housing bubble. The downturn in home construction has contributed to a comparable downward trend in U.S. South lumber production. As a result, pine sawtimber harvest in Mississippi has also declined sharply as mills consume less timber (or have closed) and some timber producers opt to delay harvest. The question for timber producers is when will stumpage prices recover? No Webb one knows, but here are some factors to consider. What drives Mississippi sawtimber demand? It’s primarily U.S. residential construction. During the eight years prior to the housing bubble collapse, the U.S. constructed, on average, about 1.7 million homes a year. We are currently producing around 600,000 units a year. Most housing construction forecasts indicate a return to the 1.7 million production levels by 2016, possibly 2017. That implies that U.S. South lumber production won’t greatly increase until that time. That provides some insight into possible future increases in demand for timber; however, stumpage prices are influenced not only by demand but also by supply. Due to reduced timber consumption since the collapse of the housing bubble, inventories of sawtimber have obviously increased. Two factors contribute to this increase: (1) harvesting less sawtimber and (2) more timber growing out of smaller diameter classes into larger sawtimber classes. Mississippi inventory data from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory Analysis conducted in 1994 and again in 2006 indicates a 23 percent increase in standing timber volumes, with the majority of that volume increase in the sawtimber diameter classes. So, prior to the recent decrease in timber harvesting, Mississippi was already experiencing an increase in sawtimber supply. This was likely a result of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pine plantations nearing maturity and other increased investments in pine plantations in the 1980s and 1990s. The CRP program alone is responsible for some 380,000 acres of pine plantations in Mississippi. Consider also the addition to

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Brent, Ken and Brad Martin

Mississippi’s sawtimber supply resulting from a sharp decrease in timber harvesting starting in 2006 with the bursting of the housing bubble. Obviously, sawtimber inventories have increased since 2006, no question. When the Mississippi Forestry Commission’s Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory completes its next statewide inventory, this will provide a better indication of existing timber supplies and how much that has increased since 2006 when timber harvesting sharply declined. When supply increases and demand decreases, prices fall and that has been the case for Mississippi’s sawtimber market since 2005, when prices began their current downward trend. Back to the question of when will pine sawtimber prices recover. It appears that noticeable improvement will not begin to be realized until 2016 or 2017 as demand for timber increases with recovery in the U.S. housing construction sector. But how much pine sawtimber supply will be available at that time? It is safe to assume that the supply of harvestable timber will be greater than it was in 2006. So, once timber consumption increases back to near pre-recession levels, how long will it take to reduce supply sufficiently to improve stumpage prices? The implication is that sawtimber stumpage prices may not exhibit appreciable recovery until sometime well after 2016 or 2017. These supply and demand issues must be weighed by timber producers as they contemplate the harvest decision. Article by James E. Henderson, Ph.D., Assistant Extension Professor. Approved as Publication No. FO406 of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi State University.

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COMMODITY UPDATE: DAIRY

Dairy Industry Facts Max Anderson, MFBF Dairy Advisory Committee Chair Doug Ervin, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Dairy

Anderson

As of March 2011, we have 124 dairy farms in the state of Mississippi, according to Stan Welch, Director of Dairy Operations, Mississippi Department of Health. These low numbers are a direct result of low farm gate prices compared to the high input prices to produce a gallon of milk plus the many economic challenges our dairy industry has faced through the years. Most Mississippi dairy farms are pasturebased with grain supplementation (feed composed primarily of corn and soybean meal along with vitamin and mineral supplements) plus additional utilization of stored forages – primarily dry hay and baleage (bale silage). The average dairy herd size in Mississippi is approximately 150 cows. The top five dairy counties are as follows: • Walthall • Lincoln • Marion • Pike • Noxubee

Ervin

We have approximately 17,000 lactating dairy cows on our Mississippi dairy farms, with a $74 million value of production of milk in 2010, which is $7 million above the 2009

value. The primary breeds found on Mississippi dairy farms are Holstein and Jersey. Holsteins typically weigh 80 to 100 pounds at birth and 1,200 to 1,500 pounds at maturity. Jerseys weigh around 40 to 60 pounds at birth and 800 to 1,100 pounds at maturity. The daily diet of Mississippi Holstein cows normally consists of 50 to 70 pounds of grass plus 10 pounds of hay plus 15 to 25 pounds of a cornsoy concentrate feed, and each cow consumes 25 to 50 gallons of water each day. Holsteins normally produce the greatest volume (pounds) of milk, while Jerseys normally produce milk with the highest milkfat (butterfat) content. A gallon of milk weighs 8.6 pounds. A special thanks to Lamar Adams, Dairy Extension Specialist, Mississippi State University, for providing many of the facts and figures used in this article.

Summer Commodity Meetings Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) will again hold regional commodity-specific meetings this summer. More information will be available as schedules are firmed up. Contact Nancy Britt at 1-800-227-8244, ext. 4230, or visit our Web site at www.msfb.org.

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By Glynda Phillips

Strengthening Mississippi Agriculture

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umphreys County row crop farmers Pepper and Crystal Roberts take time from their busy schedules each year to teach school children and others about life on a farm. In the past, they have also mentored a young farmer starting out in the business. “Farmers must speak up and tell their story,” Pepper said. “But we must also encourage beginning farmers. Going that extra mile will help to ensure a strong future for Mississippi agriculture and Farm Bureau.” Telling Ag’s Story The Roberts say consumers need to be reminded that their clothing doesn’t just magically appear in stores. “Cotton is grown somewhere, ginned somewhere, made into fabric somewhere, and made into the clothing that you wear somewhere,” Pepper said. “The same holds true for food. Milk doesn’t just show up on a grocery store shelf. It comes from a cow and is processed and packaged somewhere then shipped to your local supermarket.”

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Cotton harvesting photos by Greg Gibson

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Each year, the Roberts invite local elementary school children to visit their farm and witness the cotton harvest. “We teach them how cotton grows and show them how it is picked. We tell them that mops, blue jeans and t-shirts are made from cotton,” Pepper said. “We have a half-full module builder, and they can climb inside and have fun with cotton. The kids who are wearing 100 percent cotton clothing are covered in cotton when they are finished, because cotton sticks to cotton. Each child is also given a sack and encouraged to pick cotton with their fingers.” Pepper and Crystal are considering expanding their teaching efforts. “We are thinking about getting more into this, maybe with a corn maze and an opportunity for kids to witness corn and soybean harvests,” Pepper said. “But that will be down the road.” The Roberts were instrumental in forming the Humphreys County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. This group of young farmers tells agriculture’s story each year by bringing together farmers, bankers, and chemical and equipment dealers for a time of food and fellowship. The event, originally known as the “Blessing of the Crops Breakfast,” was changed this year to a dinner but maintains the same basic format. A meal is enjoyed, a speaker addresses the group, and a farmer prays for the crop and the season ahead. “When you have bankers and equipment dealers mingling with farmers, they are able to see the commitment of farmers in the community and that it’s not just about money.”

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Mentoring Young Farmers Teaching school kids and others about agriculture is one way the Roberts support their industry. Another way is through mentoring young farmers. One of Pepper’s goals when he started farming was to help another young person get established in agriculture. “The opportunity to realize this goal came when I hired a young man from our county as a farm manager in 2002,”

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National Discussion Meet Finalist he said. “Our goal was to teach him farming from the inside out. We wanted to let him see the numbers, learn about chemicals and sit at the desk with us and make plans and a budget. “He had worked with us for two years when the opportunity came for him to farm some of his family’s land. We offered to custom farm the land for him,” Pepper said. “He started out in this way and, every year, was able to rent additional acres. In 2009, I am proud to say that he had acquired enough land so that he could make a living from it.” The Roberts would like to encourage other farmers to mentor a young farmer in some way. Farming is a complicated profession at best but never more so than in the beginning years. Young farmers need a supportive word or a helping hand. It is easy to become discouraged. “There’s definitely room for more farmers, at least here in the Delta,” Pepper said. “If a young farmer doesn’t come from a family farming operation, it’s difficult to get started. Older farmers can help by lending equipment, labor, and/or advice until the young farmer can get established and begin making a living for himself. “Another way to help is by encouraging young farmers to serve on county Farm Bureau boards so they will have access to the resources that our organization has to offer,” he said. “Some counties already do this, and that’s great. The average farmer today is 55 years old or older, so not only would young farmers benefit from an association with Farm Bureau, but our organization would benefit from their ideas, energy and enthusiasm.” “We must all work together to grow and strengthen agriculture and Farm Bureau,” he said. “Not only is this the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Pepper and Crystal Roberts are the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Achievement Award winners for 2010. Pepper is a member of the Humphreys County Board of Directors and organizer of his county’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Crystal is chair of the Humphreys County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. The Roberts served on the YF&R State Committee where she served as secretary.

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State Discussion Meet winner Daniel Martin of Water Valley was one of three runners-up in American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet competition held in Atlanta, Georgia, in January. Martin is an attorney for John J. Crow, Jr., PLLC, where he works closely with the farmers, ranchers, banks, and local governmental entities of Yalobusha County on a variety of agricultural issues.

YF&R Activities Each year, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program, under the guidance of the YF&R State Committee, sponsors the following activities: I

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Washington, D.C. Trip for second-year YF&R State Committee members; National Leadership Conference for first-year YF&R State Committee members; State Leadership Conference; Tour of College of Veterinary Medicine and various Mississippi State University research sites; Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships to students who are sophomores or higher and are majoring in ag-related events. Fundraising events include silent and live auctions at the organization’s annual convention and one Gary Langley Memorial outdoor recreational event during the summer.

The YF&R program also offers Achievement Award and Discussion Meet contests. The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers on the regional and state levels who excel in their farming endeavors and in leadership activities. The Discussion Meet provides participants with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information in an effort to solve a problem. State competition for both contests is held during the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in December. For more information, contact Young Farmers and Ranchers Interim Coordinator Andy Whittington at 1-601-977-4238. MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

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THINKING

OUTSIDE

OF THE

BOX

By Glynda Phillips

Photo of Guedon family in rice field by T.G. McCary of Natchez

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dams County young farmers Noble and Fayla Guedon know that in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive agriculture, farmers must explore all available options, including new technology, unusual business ventures, and innovative farming practices. “To remain profitable, farmers must think outside the box,” Noble said. “If you don’t do this, you aren’t opening yourself to extra income streams for when commodity prices go back down. And you know that prices will do that because it is all cyclical and just a matter of time. When prices go down, inputs and rent will stay the same and you will be caught in a cost/price squeeze. “Thinking outside the box takes an open mind, a patient attitude, good communication skills and quick responses,” he added. “I go to anything offered by Farm Bureau, Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University. I listen to recommendations from equipment and chemical dealers. All of this is very important because agriculture is changing fast. “Sixty years ago, farmers used mules,” he said. “Now, we have tractors that can steer themselves and sprayers that can vary applied rates on the go. I wouldn’t ever want to replace the operator, though. There are too many things you have to be there to see and touch yourself.” In recent years, Noble and his family partners have explored several interesting business ventures they’ve found to be successful, including custom harvesting, custom hauling and GPS services. He and his family also do a lot of in-house trucking, harvesting and spraying. They’ve built grain bins and they dry their own rice. “We want to cut out the middleman and do most of this ourselves,” he said. “It saves money.” Noble, Fayla and a business partner operated a very successful corn maze for awhile and enjoyed teaching young people about agri-

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culture. But the fall is a busy time of the year for them because their operation grows late beans. So they had to let that go. “We would work all day and operate the corn maze at night, and we wore ourselves out. If we had been a smaller farming operation, this might have been easier,” he said. “But sometimes we go all the way into November and December with our soybean harvesting.”

Five Generations Noble is a fifth generation family farmer whose ancestors came to America from France in the 1700s. Today, eight Guedon family members, including Noble, his father, his uncles and his cousins, farm row crops, cattle and vegetables on some of the same land their ancestors farmed plus some additional acreage. “Farming is just in my blood, I guess,” Noble said. “I would not have considered doing anything else.” After receiving a degree in agribusiness with a minor in agronomy from Louisiana State University, Noble joined his family’s farming operation, supporting the efforts of other family members but also farming his own land (which is rented) with his wife. Through the years, Noble has encountered his share of challenges. He says the harvest season of 2002 was especially difficult, very similar to those in 2008 and 2009. “In that year, two tropical systems came through my area and delayed the cotton harvest for over two months,” he said. “It took me five years to climb back out of that financial loss. After that year, I decided to make a crop change, and I began learning about new crops that I could grow that would be less risky.” Another major challenge was losing his first tract of rented land. “This was the place where I had begun my farming career,”

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he said. “This land was where I produced 100 percent of my income. Fortunately, by the end of that year, I had found another farm to rent. It was about 30 miles farther away from my old farming location and was a rice farm, mostly comprised of zerograde fields. “I had only limited experience with growing rice,” he said. “I had only grown 145 acres for one year on the place I had just lost. Now, I was faced with growing close to 600 acres on the new land.” Noble and Fayla still rent the land today. “My relatives, Fayla and I have increased our total rice acreage,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. By losing a place and renting my current land, I was forced to adapt the operation to a new crop that now has been very beneficial to us.”

Farm Bureau Leader Noble chairs the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) State Committee and the newly-formed YF&R State Steering Committee. He says his experience with the YF&R program has been very beneficial. “You meet people like yourself, and that’s nice,” he said. “It’s hard to explain to our friends who don’t farm just exactly what Fayla and I do and some of the challenges we encounter each season. “We have made lifelong friends through the YF&R program,” he said. “We have picked up information about crop production and political policy, and that’s great. But the best part has been networking with other farmers all over the state.” Fayla works as a medical laboratory technician at Natchez Regional Medical Center. She and Noble have two children, Caroline and Grayson, ages 8 and 6.

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Mississippi Young Farmers: Clay & Kim

Four couples serving on the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee were asked to talk about some important topics in farming today. These young farmers are forward-thinking and optimistic individuals. Here are their answers.

Green Region 2 A third-generation Prentiss County farmer, Clay grows soybeans, corn, cotton and wheat. As additional income, he raises 50100 commercial heifers and hauls grain and fertilizer for neighboring farmers.

Q & A

What is your biggest challenge as a young farmer? I think the biggest challenge as a young farmer is acquiring land to farm and also obtaining loans to have the money to farm. What are some challenges specific to your operation? Rising input costs is a major challenge to me. Higher commodity prices lead to higher input costs, and it is very hard to get banks to issue loans under these conditions. What types of technology or new farming/conservation practices do you use on your farm? What do you see as being the way of the future as far as all of this is concerned? On our farm, we use no-till and minimum-till to reduce erosion problems. We also use grass strips, terraces and underground piping. We use the latest technology in equipment and

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chemicals to help with conservation and weed management. The way of the future lies in the hands of young farmers. Do you consider yourself a lifelong farmer? Are you optimistic about the future of farming? Do you think your children will follow in your footsteps? I do consider myself as a lifelong farmer and am optimistic about the future of farming, especially with higher prices and new technology. I hope that my children will follow in my footsteps. I want them to have the same opportunity to farm as I have had. How does Farm Bureau help young farmers? Farm Bureau provides young farmers with excellent programs like YF & R that allows them the opportunity to learn to be stronger leaders for the future of farming. Farm Bureau is our voice for farming.

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Forward-Thinking & Optimistic

William & Julie

White Region 4

Q & A

What is your biggest challenge as a young farmer? Start-up costs. When you consider the costs of land, equipment, and fuel‌not to mention cattle and feed ‌ it is difficult for a person just to start farming. For the most part in this state, most young beef cattle farmers are part-time farmers and have off-farm jobs that support the farm due to the high start-up costs of this industry. What are some challenges specific to your operation? Being that we are part-time farmers, time is probably our biggest challenge. Balancing jobs, family and the farm can be difficult at times. What types of technology or new farming/conservation practices do you use on your farm? What do you see as being the way of the future as far as all of this is concerned? Through USDA, we have been able to cross-fence our farm and add watering systems for rotational grazing. We have also participated in the grazing land conservation program and increased the quality of forages that our cattle are grazing. Due to the high land costs, rotational grazing and forage quality will continue to be an important part of the beef cattle industry. Farm sizes are shrinking, but through practices such as these, beef cattle can still be produced in an economical fashion.

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A fifth-generation Oktibbeha County farmer, William is the facilities coordinator for Mississippi State University’s Leveck Research Unit (South Farm), where he cares for 300 head of purebred cattle. He also raises 25 head of commercial momma cows in partnership with his dad. Julie is director of the Oktibbeha County Extension Service. Do you consider yourself a lifelong farmer? Are you optimistic about the future of farming? Do you think your children will follow in your footsteps? Yes, we both do. We were both raised in farming families and are excited about raising our children in a farming family. We see the value of farming and are instilling that value in our children. We are working now so that they will have a place to farm and raise quality cattle in the future. How does Farm Bureau help young farmers? Farm Bureau is truly the voice of agriculture. It helps build the leaders of tomorrow through the Young Farmers and Ranchers program. This program teaches young farmers about how they can share their voice through the grassroots process and have it heard on the national level. It is also a great way to network and share ideas with other farmers in the state.

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Tyler & Sarah

Huerkamp Region 6 A third-generation Noxubee County row crop farmer, Tyler grows cotton and corn in a 50/50 rotation. He farms family land which he bought back after it had been sold.

Q & A

What is your biggest challenge as a young farmer? Availability of affordable land and operating capital. What are some challenges specific to your operation? Managing operating costs and marketing products to maximize efficiency and maintain profitability. What types of technology or new farming/conservation practices do you use on your farm? What do you see as being the way of the future as far as all of this is concerned? Transgenic technology, GPS guidance, and GPS variable seed rate. A challenge with new technology is managing and adopting it to maximize profit, not necessarily production. However, new technologies create efficiency by allowing farms to operate with fewer employees or increase acres with the same employees.

AFBF Young Farmer Survey

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ASHINGTON, D.C. - The latest survey of participants in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program shows that America’s young farmers and ranchers are an optimistic lot. Results of the 19th annual YF&R survey reveal that 87 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. This is the highest optimism level ever in AFBF’s annual YF&R survey, which was initiated in 1993. Last year, 80 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming than they were five years ago. The previous high was in 2008, when 82 percent said

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Do you consider yourself a lifelong farmer? Are you optimistic about the future of farming? Do you think your children will follow in your footsteps? Yes and of course. Agriculture is essential to the security and survival of this country, and all we can do is teach this to our children and hope and pray they choose to continue farming with us. How does Farm Bureau help young farmers? It creates a network of people who have common interests, beliefs and problems. It also not only keeps you informed about current political issues, but with modern agriculture being so efficient, it requires so few people to produce the food and fiber for our country. Farm Bureau can provide a unified voice to stand up for the benefit of agriculture.

they were more optimistic. The 2011 survey also shows nearly 90 percent of the nation’s young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 82 percent reported being better off than they were five years ago. Nearly 94 percent considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 96 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals that 87 percent believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps. Despite the high level of optimism, the young farm and ranch leaders express concerns. The number one concern is economic challenges, with 22 percent ranking profitability as their top concern. Government regulations were also a top concern of many of those surveyed, with 17 percent ranking that as their top concern. Nearly 10

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Q & A

What is your biggest challenge as a young farmer? The biggest challenge is that there are fewer and fewer of us. What does the future hold for state farmers when we get to be the age that our fathers are now?

What are some challenges specific to your operation? Weather conditions and fuel and equipment costs are challenges specific to our row crop operation as are unstable commodity prices. What types of technology or new farming/conservation practices do you use on your farm? What do you see as being the way of the future as far as all of this is concerned? We have an all-around conservation philosophy on our farm. We have inlet irrigation that uses polypipes and gates to control water in our rice fields. It is a way to conserve fuel and water at the same time. My next improvement will look more into tailwater recovery. That’s in the planning process. Where our farm sits as far as the alluvial aquifer is concerned is on the red and that means water is getting scarce. All of our land is put to grade to help conserve water, and we are completely irrigated. We are planning for the future. Do you consider yourself a lifelong farmer? Are you optimistic about the future of farming? Do you think your children will follow in your footsteps? Yes. I am optimistic. This country can’t make it without farmers. We’ve done so well people don’t stop and think what other countries spend for food. We spend the least amount. We have the safest, most abundant and most affordable food in the world. People need to understand that what goes on out here very much affects their lives.

Garrett & Dawn

Carver Region 1 Garrett is a fourth-generation row crop farmer who presently farms with his father, growing rice and soybeans near Ruleville. The family farm moved from cotton to grain in 1997 undergoing one of its biggest changes. percent ranked tax burdens as their No. 1 concern. When asked what top three steps the federal government should take to help young farmers and ranchers, cutting government spending was the top response, with 17 percent listing that as the most important step. Thirteen percent of those surveyed said the government should provide financial help to beginning farmers, while 12 percent said reforming environmental regulations was the top step. The survey shows that America’s young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental stewards, with 72 percent saying that balancing environmental and economic concerns is important in their operations. The survey shows 58 percent use conservation tillage on their farms. In addition, computers and the Internet are vital tools for the nation’s young farmers and ranchers, with 92 percent surveyed reporting MAY/JUNE

How does Farm Bureau help young farmers? Farm Bureau is about helping farmers get their voice heard at the state and national capitols. I can actually look at my representatives and talk to them and tell them what I think. I’ve enjoyed meeting farmers from all over the state, and by serving on the YF&R State Committee, I’ve made friends for life with many of these farmers

using a computer in their farming operation. Nearly all of those surveyed, 98 percent, have access to the Internet. High-speed Internet is used by 74 percent of those surveyed, with 24 percent relying on a satellite connection and 2 percent turning to dialup. The popular social media site, Facebook, is used by 76 percent of those surveyed who use the Internet. The most popular use of the Internet in the survey is to gather news and agricultural information, with 81 percent turning to it for that use. Finally, the survey points out that 74 percent of YF&R members consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs. The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBF’s 2011 YF&R Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., in February.

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State YF&R Conference - Natchez

Young farmers toured Longwood. Also known as Nutt's Folly, Longwood is the largest octagonal house in the United States.

Patrick and Kim Swindoll of Hernando talked about serving on the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.

Young farmers attending the State Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Natchez participated in breakout sessions with ag industry experts.

Conference participants visited Frogmore Plantation and Gins to learn how farmers farmed in the 1800s and how they farm today on this 1800-acre cotton plantation.

Young farmers visited the Smithsonian-quality 1884 Munger steam gin at Frogmore. It is listed on the National Register and houses rare Munger equipment.

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Solve the

?

Mystery Our mystery town is located in Pike County approximately 80 miles south of Jackson. It was founded in 1872 and named for a railroad official with the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, a predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad (ICR). ICR is now a part of the Canadian National (CN) Railways. Early jobs revolved around the railroad as well as cotton mills and sawmills. The town was known as a textile center for 20 years before its last cotton mill closed in the 1940s. Today, Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center is our mystery town’s largest employer. In addition, it is home to over 35 industrial facilities, ranging from fabric mills, metals and plastics, to poultry and packaging. The Enterprise Journal newspaper is located in this town, which is also the headquarters for a fourcounty library system. Southwest Mississippi Community College can be found in nearby Summit. Retail opportunities abound in the downtown area, at Edgewood Mall, and in nearby communities. Our mystery town also boasts a number of restaurants, including the renowned Dinner Bell, which offers a lazySusan-type dining experience, and The Ca-

boose Restaurant, located in the historic Harlan Building in the downtown Depot District. One of our mystery town’s more popular attractions is a railroad museum. You will find here an historic depot and one of the few remaining iron horse steam locomotives, pictured above, right. You will also find an old ice car and an IC wrecker. The CN Railroad still uses the depot facilities to load and change cars. Amtrak visits regularly. The Black History Gallery honors the accomplishments of African American leaders in and from our mystery town. The Jerry Clower Museum in East Fork pays homage to the renowned country comedian. A number of art galleries, including Gulf-South Art Gallery, pictured above, and Japonica Gallery, feature the work of local artists and others. Japonica Gallery is named for a shrub that figures notably in our mystery town’s early history. Back then, a local African American woman planted japonicas and gave blooms and cuttings to friends. Soon, a variety of Japonicas flourished throughout the town. Some of these plants were sold to agents with Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Alabama. At one time, the town was known as “The Camellia City of America.” Outdoor recreational opportunities include Percy Quinn State Park, Lake Dixie Springs, Bogue Chitto River and Bogue Chitto Water Park, Homochitto River and Homochitto National Forest, Lake Okhissa, and other fishing lakes. The town boasts 10 city parks and one large sports park. Pike County Speedway is located nearby. A few of the famous people associated with our mystery town include Gov. Hugh White; blues artists Bo Diddley, Omar Dykes, Little Freddie King and Vasti Jackson; musician and entertainer Paul Ott; entertainers Brandy and Ray J. Norwood; American historian Steven Ozment; and a number of professional athletes. Entertainers Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears attended high school here. Country comedian Jerry Clower grew up in nearby Amite County. The annual Azalea Festival was held this year from March 21 to April 3. Name this town. MAY/JUNE

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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 FarmCountry@MSFB.org. Please remember to include your name and address on the entry. Visit our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Web site at www.msfb.org. When all correct guesses have been received, we will randomly draw 20 names. These 20 names will receive a prize and will be placed in the hat twice. At the end of the year, a winner will be drawn from all correct submissions. 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 May 31.

March/April

The correct answer for the March/April Solve the Mystery is Soso

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A Farm to Fork

Philosophy P

By Glynda Phillips

opular Jackson chef, Luis Bruno, will participate in the 2011 Farm Families of Mississippi ag promotion campaign. His Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) program, “Cooking for Life with Chef Luis Bruno,” will be featured as he gives a cooking demonstration and talks about why he prefers fresh, locally-grown foods. “My family and I love visiting farmers markets. It is so much fun,” he said. “You find so much color and variety at a farmers market, and the quality and taste of the products are much better because they are fresh. I am all about taste since I’ve spent my life cooking.” Bruno brings this “farm to fork” philosophy to his position as Director of Culinary Development for Hilton Jackson, home of Huntington’s Grille, Wellington’s, and Fitzgerald’s Lobby Bar. He has twice served as Executive Chef at the Governor’s Mansion, and he owned his own restaurant, the award-winning Bruno’s Eclectic Foods. Bruno is well-regarded within the food industry, having cooked with Bobbie Flay, Cat Cora, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril Lagasse, to name a few. He is also a popular motivational speaker, who is especially concerned with reducing obesity among children. He says Mississippi is number one in the nation in obesity and deaths from heart disease and number two in diabetes and hypertension. Bruno was commended by the 2010 Mississippi Senate as an ambassador for healthy lifestyles.

Healthy Eating When he talks about the dangers of unhealthy eating, Bruno speaks from experience. He once weighed almost 400 pounds and suffered from adult onset diabetes, taking six insulin shots daily. When his doctor ultimately delivered a grim prognosis for his future, he began changing his life. Through a local hospital, Bruno lost over 200 pounds with an 800-calorie-a-day liquid diet and exercise. In the past two years, he gained some of the weight back as a result of stress, but he is now in the process of losing it, through healthy eating and exercise. “I tend to be a workaholic, so I am making a point of slowing down and spending more time with my wife and daughter,” he said. “They are my number one priority. I also take better care of myself. I eat well and take a spinning class at the local Y.” Amazing Life Luis Bruno is constantly amazed at his life. “I never would have guessed I’d be successful at anything,” he said. “My background was hard.” Bruno grew up in the Bronx, New York, surrounded by alcoholism and drug abuse. His father was absent. The streets around his home were tough and dangerous, and he had absolutely no 22

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role model. When his older brother began working in the food industry, Bruno followed in his footsteps at age 13, working in the family deli. Eventually, he attended a culinary school in Florida. “I met my wife Kathleen in culinary school. She is a Mississippian, so we decided to move here. I worked for several restaurants and one college cafeteria before becoming Executive Chef at the Governor’s Mansion,” he said. “Pat Fordice hired me. She was such a classy lady.” Following his stint in the Governor’s Mansion during Gov. Kirk Fordice’s time in office, he opened his own restaurant, Bruno’s Eclectic Foods. The restaurant was quite popular, but Bruno says he spent so much time downing beers at the bar then eating cereal and fried Spam, cheese, Cuban bread and mayonnaise at home, that the pounds began piling on and his health deteriorated. “I was so sick with diabetes at one point that I couldn’t keep the restaurant going, so we closed the doors,” he said.

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When he regained his health, he returned to the Governor’s Mansion, working as Executive Chef for Gov. Haley Barbour until his appointment at Hilton Jackson. In addition to his job and his MPB television program, Bruno has authored a cookbook, “Don’t Feel Guilty … Eat It!,” that offers delicious, healthy foods that are fun and easy to cook. He also sells his own special brand of spices, Bruno’s Eclectic Spices. In addition to the Farm Families of Mississippi campaign, Chef Bruno will be featured in the “Mississippi on the Menu” cooking segment of Farm Bureau’s Voices of Agriculture television program. Voices of Agriculture airs on RFD-TV on Dish Network, Channel 231, and DirecTV, Channel 345. “I have a wonderful job and a life that is filled with laughter, family, friends and food,” he said. “A healthy lifestyle just makes all of it that much better.” For more information about the Farm Families of Mississippi campaign, see page 26. For more information about Chef Bruno, visit his Web site at: www.chefluisbruno.com.

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Food Check-Out Week

State Women’s Committee members Carolyn Turner, Region 7 Chair, and Betty Edwards, Region 5 Chair, help deliver goods to Ronald McDonald House in Jackson as AFBF Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Terry Gilbert looks on.

Ag materials were handed out in local supermarkets.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Senate Ag Committee Chair Cindy Hyde-Smith addressed the group during Women’s Day at the Capitol.

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As part of Women’s Day at the Capitol, refreshments were served by the State Women’s Committee in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. Pictured are Deniese Swindoll, Region 1 Chair; Shelby Williams, State Women’s Committee Vice Chair; and Jody Bailey, Region 4 Chair.

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Members of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Women’s Leadership Committee helped Mississippi celebrate Food Checkout Week this year by accompanying the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) State Women’s Committee and others to the Ronald McDonald House of Jackson, participating in Women’s Day at the Capitol, and handing out ag-related materials at local grocery stores. On behalf of AFBF, national committee members donated $2,500 and food, while MFBF State Women’s Committee members and others donated $5,200, food and household items to Ronald McDonald House of Jackson. Pictured with Farm Bureau leaders are Ruth Ann Allen, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House of Jackson and Gabe Ottolini, Director of Global Development, Ronald McDonald House Charities.

House Ag Committee Chair Greg Ward visited with the women during Women’s Day at the Capitol. MAY/JUNE

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Calender of Events May 6 Women’s Leadership Conference MFBF Building Jackson May 10-11 Southern Bioproducts and Renewable Energy Conference Beau Rivage Resort Hotel Biloxi June 1 Application Deadline Farm Bureau Scholarships June 6-9 Youth Safety Seminar Timber Creek Camp June 12-15 AFBF Southern Region Commodity Conference Orange Beach, Alabama June 14-16 AITC Workshops Grenada, Collins, Jackson June 20 Dairy Summer Meeting Golden Corral McComb June 21 County Boards, Agency Managers, County Secretaries Meeting Mississippi Ag Museum Jackson June 22-25 National AITC Conference Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Farm Families of Mississippi Campaign By Greg Gibson, MFBF Member Services Director

Promoting Mississippi’s number one industry is the purpose of an advertising campaign sponsored by Farm Families of Mississippi, an entity made up of nearly 70 organizations, companies and individuals interested in promoting Mississippi agriculture. “This is our second year on the air,” said Donald Gant, a Bolivar County farmer who chairs the Farm Families of Mississippi Committee. “Last year, we received a very positive response from the public to our ads, and we educated a lot of people about the value of agriculture in their daily lives. We hope that this year will be just as successful.” The campaign’s main messages are geared to inform consumers about the following ideas: • The affordability of food in America • Farmers caring for their animals • Buy local, read the label • Farmers are good stewards of our land and water resources

The 2010 campaign was centered in the Jackson media market and encompassed TV and radio spots, along with billboards and other promotions. In 2011, the campaign will expand to include the Gulf Coast media market. Other components of the campaign include two promotion nights with the Mississippi Braves, the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

These will be special nights with lots of promotional items given away by farmers to the fans as they enter the stadium. Farm Families TV spots will play on the Jumbotron and agricultural facts will be read over the PA system between innings. Farm Families will also have a fullpage ad in the game program, and our ads will run on the radio broadcast of the game. Farm Families also has a new Web site, www.growingmississippi.org, and a new Facebook page. Search for Farm Families of Mississippi. You’ll find recipes, interesting facts about Mississippi agriculture, a place to sign up for a newsletter, and much more. Mississippi is home to over 42,000 farms, covering over 11 million acres. The economic impact on our state is substantial at $6.88 billion in 2010. “Data from the U. S. Census projects the world population will grow from 6.8 billion in 2010 to 9.2 billion by 2050. Farmers need to increase—not decrease—their ability to raise the food that feeds the world,” said Gant. “Farmers are the first link in the food quality and safety chain. The measures farmers take to safeguard their products make the job easier for other links in the chain to maintain the integrity of the nation’s food supply.” Support Mississippi agriculture—it supports you every day!

June 25 Gary Langley Memorial Clay Shoot Luckett Lodge Brandon Dairy Night at MS Braves July 1 Application Deadline Farm Bureau Ambassador Contest July 7 Cotton Summer Meeting Grenada County Ext. Auditorium Grenada 26

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FARM BUREAU NEWS

YF&R YF&R Steering Clay Shoot Committee

Dust off the scatter gun and stay sharp for dove season by participating in the Gary Langley Memorial Clay Shoot to be held June 25 at Luckett Sporting Clays on Clark Creek Road in Brandon. Entry fees are $135 per individual; $540 per 4-man or corporate team; and $100 per station sponsor (13 are available) Registration deadline is June 3. Registration fee includes lunch and 100 clays. All participants must wear head and eye protection (sunglasses are acceptable). Bring your own golf cart, Rhino, side-by-side or mule. Golf cart rental will be available through Luckett Lodge prior to the event (no 4-wheelers allowed). Bring your own shells. This event is sponsored by and all proceeds go to benefit the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Scholarship Foundation. For more information, contact Tammy Meyer at 601-977-4226.

Pictured standing are from left, Russell, Ellzey, Bailey, Swindoll, Cannada and MFBF President Randy Knight. Seated are from left, Woods, Marlo and Shelby Beason, and Guedon.

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Steering Committee is charged with reviewing the current program and suggesting positive changes for the future. Members include: Noble Guedon, chair, (2011 YF&R Chair) and wife Fayla; Region 1 – Bill Ryan Tabb (2003 YF&R Chair) and wife Leslie; Patrick Swindoll (2008 YF&R Chair) and wife Kim; Region 2 – Kevin Simpson (2001 YF&R Chair) and wife Cindy; Region 3 – Scott Cannada (2006 YF&R Chair) and wife Lesley; Lyle Hubbard (2004 YF&R Chair) and wife Sue Ann; Region 4 – Coley

Bailey (2000 YF&R Chair) and wife Jody; Clint Tindall (2007 YF&R Chair) and wife Kristy; Region 5 – Scott Smith (2005 YF&R Chair) and wife Heather; Brad Woods (2009 YF&R Chair) and wife Amanda; Region 6 – Shelby Beason (2007-08 State Committee) and wife Marlo; Region 7 – Jason Ellzey (2007-08 State Committee) and wife Lindsey; Region 8 – Clint Russell (2010 YF&R Chair) and wife Linda; and Bryan Killebrew (200708 State Committee) and wife Jill. Many of these young farmers are former State Achievement Award winners.

Youth Safety Seminar

Registration deadline for the 2011 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Youth Safety Seminar is May 20. The event will be held June 6-9 at Timber Creek Camp in Scott County. Youth Safety Seminar offers young people, entering 7th through 12th grades, an opportunity to receive safety training, enjoy recreational activities and develop friendships that MAY/JUNE

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will last a lifetime. In 2010, approximately 58 students from across the state participated in training sessions that included CPR, Electrical Safety, ATV Safety, Fatal Vision and Tractor Safety. For more information about Youth Safety Seminar, contact your county Farm Bureau office or call Angela Thompson at 1-800-2278244, ext. 4242. 27

Front row, from left: Grace Ann, Laura Leigh and Amber; back row, from left: Jacqueline, Braswell, Brandon and Taylor.

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By Glynda Phillips

Ervins Catching Up with the

n a sunny spring day filled with kids, horses, dogs and laughter, I visited with the Ervin family of Magnolia. Spending time with Doug and Brandi and their seven children is a whole lot of fun. It is especially interesting to catch up with them after five years. Mississippi Farm Country has followed the Ervin Quints since they were born ten years ago this May. We featured them when they were active one-year-olds, and we wrote about them when they were talkative five-year-olds. By then, they had a brother named Brandon and a sister named Laura Leigh. All of the Ervin children attend Parklane Academy in McComb, where they make As and Bs. The quints are in the fourth grade, Brandon is in the first grade, and Laura Leigh is in kindergarten. The siblings participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. They enjoy barrel racing, Sunshine Express, and piano and karate lessons. Braswell plays travel baseball. The older girls are cheerleaders and on their fourth-grade girls basketball team. Brandon is on the first-grade boys basketball team.

§

O

Their beloved quarter horses are Forrest Gump, BJ, Two Bits and Pepe. “Taylor is outgoing and sociable, Grace Ann is sweet as pie,” said Brandi. “Amber is Miss Perfect and likes to fix things. Braswell (we call him B) has baseball and sports on the brain, and Jacqueline is the mother hen who makes sure that everyone is okay. Brandon loves computer games and animals, and Laura Leigh is the baby in every sense of the word.” When they grow up, the girls want to own a horse ranch. B wants to play professional ball, and Brandon will most likely be a computer whiz. “Brandi and I are so proud of our children. They are good kids,” said Doug, Farm Bureau’s Region 5 Manager, Commodity Coordinator for Dairy, and Land Program Coordinator. He is also interim Commodity Coordinator for Equine. The quints will be 10 in May, Brandon will be 8 in September, and Laura Leigh will be 6 in July. The Ervins attend First Baptist Church of Magnolia.

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Farm Bureau Events

Some 200 farmers from across the state participated in Ag Day at the Capitol, promoting agriculture and visiting with lawmakers.

Farm Bureau Ambassador Mattie Carter of Rolling Fork participated in the 2011 Dixie National Parade in Jackson. The car is driven by Ronnie West.

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Colorful and factual displays were set up in the Capitol Rotunda during Ag Day at the Capitol. The material reflected agriculture’s many contributions to the lives of all Mississippians and demonstrated how much farmers pay for the equipment and supplies they use to efficiently produce our nation’s affordable, safe and abundant food supply.

The two-day 2011 Winter Commodity Conference, held in January, enjoyed informative, entertaining speakers and a record number of participants.

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Washington D.C. Member Tour

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation members visited First District Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

Senator Thad Cochran spoke to members at the luncheon.

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Senator Roger Wicker addressed the Mississippi group during a special luncheon.

Farm Bureau members visited with Third District Congressman Gregg Harper.

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Sale of Junior Champions

The Champion Mediumweight Goat was exhibited by Dakota Rogers, Smith 4-H. Pictured, from left, are David Hurt, Jack Williams, Larry Favreau, Randy Knight and Jack Alexander for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Tico’s, Telesouth Communications, Attala Foods, Matthews, Cutrer, and Lindsay, PA, and Cimarron Mortgage Co. (buyers) and Anna Lee Guy and Dakota.

The Reserve Champion Chester Hog was exhibited by Rayne Tate, Holmes 4-H. Pictured, from left, are David Hurt, Jack Williams, Larry Favreau, Randy Knight and Samantha Webb for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Tico’s, Telesouth Communications, Southern Cross Underwriters, Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush, PA, and Leflore Veterinary Clinic (buyers) and Rayne.

The Reserve Champion Crossbred Lamb was exhibited by Robyn/Tyler/John Ryan Soigner, Hinds 4-H. Pictured, from left, are Jack Williams, Randy Knight, David Hurt, Larry Favreau and Jack Alexander for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Tico’s, Telesouth Communications, Attala Foods, Matthews, Cutrer and Lindsay PA, Cimarron Mortgage Co. (buyers) and Tyler, John Ryan and Robyn.

The Reserve Champion Heavyweight European Steer was exhibited by Josh Bradshaw, Jones 4-H/South Jones FFA. Pictured, from left, are Jack Williams, David Hurt, Larry Favreau, Randy Knight and Jon Kilgore for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Tico’s, Telesouth Communications, and Hilton Jackson (buyers) and Josh. (Left) The Reserve Champion Hampshire Hog was exhibited by Adam Dixon, Jasper 4-H. Pictured, from left, are David Hurt, Jack Williams, Larry Favreau, Randy Knight, Samantha Webb and Jon Kilgore for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co., Tico’s, Telesouth Communications, Hilton Jackson (buyers) and Adam.

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Hamill is State Sales Manager

Henry Hamill, Agency Manager in Alcorn County, will assume the duties of State Sales Manager for Mississippi, effective May 1, 2011. He succeeds David Hurt, who will be leaving Mississippi, effective May 1, 2011, to assume the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing for Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. Henry is a 1990 graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. He began his Farm Bureau career as a career agent in Lin-

coln County in 1990. During Henry’s career in Lincoln County, he was recognized as the District Agent of the Year on five separate occasions. Henry was promoted to the position of Agency Manager for Alcorn County in October 2008. Alcorn County was selected District Agency of the Year for 2010. Henry and wife Tanya have two sons, Caleb (15) and Colby (12). The family will be moving to the Jackson area in the near future.

AITC Workshops

Ag in the Classroom Workshops are scheduled for June 14-16. The Grenada workshop will be held first at the Grenada County Extension Auditorium. The Collins workshop will be held the second day at the Covington County Multipurpose Building, and the Jackson workshop will be held last at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Building. A $20 deposit for all participants is required. Teachers may receive a .7 CEU. Registration deadline is May 30. For more information, contact Women’s Program Coordinator Clara Bilbo at 1-800-227-8244, ext. 4245.

Women’s Leadership Conference The annual Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Women’s Leadership Conference will be held May 6 at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Building in Jackson. Speakers will address issues of interest to farm women, and all attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on Food Check-Out Week activity. For more information, contact MFBF Women’s Program Coordinator Clara Bilbo at 1-800-227-8244, ext. 4245.

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Gourd Festival

The second annual Shivers Gourd Festival will be held Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Raw and finished gourds will be for sale, and gourd crafting classes will be available. There will be food, and entertainment will be provided by The Vernon Brothers. For more information, call Paul Grubbs at 601-260-4230. For driving directions, visit www.mississippigourdsociety.org. The Mississippi Gourd Festival is Sept. 17-18 at the Smith County Ag Complex in Raleigh. For more information, contact Mike or Michele Thompson at 601-782-9444 or 601-374 0245.

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Southern Bioproducts and Renewable Energy Conference

The 10th Annual Southern Bioproducts and Renewable Energy Conference will be held May 10-11 in Biloxi at the Beau Rivage Resort Hotel. The

theme of this year’s event is “A Decade of Promoting Biomass and Renewable Energy.” The conference is hosted by the Mississippi Biomass and Renewable Energy Council and will provide presentations, speakers and networking opportunities for landowners, producers, academics and professionals interested in renewable energy projects. For more information, visit this Web site: www.ms-biomass.org.

FLEET VEHICLES FOR SALE If you are interested in a used federation vehicle, please visit our Web site at www.msfb.org for more information. Click on the About Us link, then click the Fleet Vehicles for Sale on the drop down menu or contact Merlene Partridge at 1.800.227.8244, ext. 4233. These vehicles are late model, usually one - two years old. NADA retail, wholesale, and loan values are used to calculate price.

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Mississippi Farm Country