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VOLUME 88 NO. 6

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

A Publication of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation • MSFB.org


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MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER


MISS ISS IPPI FARM C OUNTRY Volume 88 Number 6 November/December 2012

Mi ssi ssi ppi 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 ADV ERTISING Angela Thompson 1-800-227-8244 ext. 4242 FARM BURE AU OFFICE RS President – Randy Knight Vice President – Donald Gant Vice President – Ted Kendall Vice President – Reggie Magee Treasurer – Billy Davis Corporate Secretary – Ilene Sumrall FARM BU REAU DIRE CTORS Carla Taylor, Booneville Mike Graves, Ripley Ronald Jones, Holly Springs Bill Ryan Tabb, Cleveland Randle Wright, Vardaman Neal Huskison, Pontotoc Mike Langley, Houston Bobby Moody, Louisville Wanda Hill, Isola James Foy, Canton Fred Stokes, Porterville James Brewer, Shubuta David Boyd, Sandhill Lonnie Fortner, Port Gibson Jeff Mullins, Meadville Mike McCormick, Union Church Lyle Hubbard, Mt. Olive Gerald Moore, Petal J. B. Brown, Perkinston Ken Mallette, Vancleave Betty Mills, Winona Jason Hill, Woodland

CONTENTS

Features

8 MFBF LAND PROGRAM The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Land Program gives Mississippi landowners an opportunity to discuss and recommend solutions to problems that directly affect their land and, often, their livelihoods. Come with us as we learn more.

18 SOLVE THE MYSTERY Founded in 1887, this Monroe County town became the midway point between Memphis and Birmingham for two railway systems. It was also where rail lines diverged, heading south to Mobile and Pensacola. Read the clues and make your guess.

28 COUNTY SPOTLIGHT In this issue, we spotlight Adams County Farm Bureau. This past June, these volunteer leaders sponsored their first-ever camp designed to teach youth about agriculture. Learn more about this great new program inside.

“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 4 President’s Message 6 Commodity Update: Forestry 20 Counsel’s Corner 22 Member Benefits Spotlight

HONORARY VICE- PRESIDE NTS Louis Breaux Warren Oakley 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.

About the cover The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Land Program deals with issues related to land use, wildlife resources and rural development. Read about this program inside. The cover photo of a blue-winged teal was taken by Rob Heflin of Isola, an avid hunter and amateur photographer who has managed wildlife habitat on his family farm for 12 years. For more information about his photos, visit www.yazoovalleywildlife.com. MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

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

This Farm Means Everything to Me This year, on the heels of the catastrophic floods and tornadoes of 2011, Mississippi farmers once again faced more than their fair share of weather-related challenges, from the excessive wind and rain of Hurricane Isaac to the unrelenting 50-year drought that touched areas of our state as well as two-thirds of the continental United States. Farm Bureau volunteer leaders and staff are always among the first to offer their help in times of need, and this year was no exception. On behalf of my fellow farmers across the state and nation, I want to thank you for your many kindnesses. Farming isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. Unexpected and extreme weather conditions can be devastating. As one of my friends once said, “This farm means everything to me.” That pretty much says it all. In addition to the weather and high costs of feed and fuel, finding enough land to farm is another challenge many of us farmers encounter every year. We aren’t against progress, but we need to know that we will always have plenty of good, available land. One year ago this month, the people of Mississippi spoke up in overwhelming numbers to demand eminent domain reform. These concerned men and women recognized the need to safeguard a basic Constitutional right. In my mind, they also understood the importance of giving farmers the tools we need to continue doing what we do best – feeding and clothing the world. (We are also helping to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign oil, but you probably already know that, too.) On the other side of the coin, as far as opportunities are concerned, more and more of our farmers are finding new and often unique ways of using their land to survive a changing global agriculture. Some are adding nontraditional agricultural commodities to their more conventional endeavors, while others are exploring alternative ways of generating extra income through agritourism, mineral leases and fee hunting and fishing opportunities, to name just a few. Working together, through organizations like Farm Bureau, Mississippi farmers have an opportunity to speak with a united voice about the challenges they encounter every year. They are also able to surface opportunities that can help them stay in business. Land Program

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Recognizing the importance of land to our farmers, we established a Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Land Program in 2007. Each year, this program works with other programs and staff members to represent Farm Bureau at the State Capitol and with regulatory agencies on all issues related to land. In recent years, we have dealt with private property rights relative to eminent domain, trespass protection for private landowners, CAFO regulation and taxation issues, to name a few. We have also continued to explore a variety of land use opportunities like the ones mentioned earlier. This past year, in response to a need expressed by our members, we expanded the responsibilities of our land program to include wildlife resources and rural development. I invite you to read about our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Land Program in this issue of our magazine. You can also contact our MFBF Land Program Coordinator Doug Ervin at (601) 624-1705. And speaking of helping farmers succeed, I’d like to take a moment to recognize our land-grant institutions – Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University – for their many years of dedicated service to agriculture. Their research, teaching and extension efforts are a big reason why our agricultural industry remains so efficient and proficient today. This past year marked the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862. This most important piece of legislation awarded federal lands to help states establish public universities which have proven to be indispensable to the strength and continued growth of our state and national farming industry. Our Land-Grants

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and I want to wish for you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year. I know you have plans for the coming year, and I hope that everything falls in your favor. On a final note, don’t forget to exercise your right to vote on Nov. 6. As we all know, one vote truly can make a difference. I encourage you to visit the polls on Election Day and let your voice be heard. Don’t Forget to Vote

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COMMODITY UPDATE: FORESTRY Ken Martin – MFBF Forestry Advisory Committee Chair Kevin Brown – MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Forestry

Forestry Fights Major Issues As we close out another year and get ready for the holidays, let us not forget the reason for the season. Let’s also not forget that forestry is the number two commodity in Mississippi, annually contributing $1.04 billion to the state’s economy. Yet, even with its great economic impact, the forestry industry is facing some major issues moving forward into 2013. Forestry provides over 123,000 jobs to Mississippi, and with over 125,000 private forest landown- Brown ers, more than 250,000 Mississippians have a substantial interest in the forestry market. But the forestry industry faces struggles on a daily basis that could greatly impact these individuals and our state’s economy. High fuel prices, changing standards for wood products, stringent load limits, labor issues and a failure to accept forestry as an agricultural practice will all have a negative impact on Mississippi’s forestry sector. With fuel prices at the levels currently seen, the already slim margins have begun to shrink even smaller. John Auel, Mississippi State Extension associate, says, “The high fuel prices, combined with a struggling economy, have cut into the extremely narrow margins loggers operate with. These factors have contributed to a loss of work force in the logging sector.” With this shrinking margin for profit, the loggers will begin offsetting these costs to the landowners, who, in turn, will see even less profit from their crop. Auel also added, “Loggers who have stayed in business have changed their operating philosophies. Many operators keep equipment longer and fix it instead of replacing it.” While this is a sound business move, this practice can reduce the overall efficiency of the operation. Additionally, older equipment is less fuel efficient and requires purchasing more fuel at higher prices. Another issue that needs to be highlighted that has the potential to negatively impact forest landowners is reassessment of strength values in lumber. Lumber across North America, including southern yellow pine, is undergoing a reassessment of strength values. Strength values are important because the dollar value of lumber is directly related to its loadbearing strength. The reassessment for southern pine is being overseen by the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau, which completed a reassessment of 2x4 lumber in 2011 and is poised to present the findings of wider dimensions to the American Lumber Standards Committee in Washington, D.C., this fall. The results of the 2x4 reassessment indicate that the strength values have decreased by 30 percent. Early results indicate that wider dimensions are not as severely impacted as the narrow dimensions. Dan Seale, MSU Department of Forest Products professor, said, “The reductions in design values mean the tables that architects and engineers use to design structures will change as will the products used in construction.” Seale also noted that, in an effort to minimize the impact of these strength reductions, many mills are installing equipment to automatically re-grade lumber into one of 17 machine-grade classes, based on stiffness and strength. Ultimately, these changes would require that lumber be marketed similarly to engineered wood. This means that, in the future, landowners would have the technologies available to determine the values of the products derived from their standing timber.

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Brent, Ken and Brad Martin

Seale concluded, “Many changes are being considered that will impact lumber design values, building codes and, ultimately, the overall value of an individual tract of timber.” Forestry continues to fight an ongoing battle with legal load limits along Mississippi highways and roads. Many counties have tried to implement lower load limits with the intent of keeping log trucks off their county roads, while completely ignoring the value that timber harvesting brings to their county economy. Along with counties attempting to establish lower load limits, Mississippi loggers are operating within lower state legal load limits than our surrounding states. This handicap causes loggers to make more trips to the mill if they are hauling to an out-of-state mill, which causes them to use more fuel. Mississippi forest landowners need to be aware of an ongoing issue with labor restrictions when they get ready to replant after a harvest. Many contractors who plant pine trees use immigrant labor on the job. But these contractors have been faced with higher fees and wages to bring legal workers into the state to plant trees, and they may then be passing these additional costs on to the landowner. If not for legal immigrant labor, most of the trees in Mississippi would not be planted each year. But it’s not all doom and gloom. According to Dr. James Henderson, assistant MSU Extension professor, “U.S. housing starts for June were up to 760,000 units, a 42 percent increase from two years ago.” In addition to the promising upswing in the housing market, pine sawtimber stumpage prices increased modestly for the fourth consecutive quarter to $27.86/ton for the second quarter of 2012. These recent gains are attributable to an increase in the housing market. However, since the housing decline in 2006, Mississippi standing timber inventories have increased. This increase in timber supply will, ultimately, have a negative impact on timber prices for the foreseeable future. Forestry faces many issues in the coming years, and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is working to help aid our state’s forest landowners and loggers. Your participation and voice is needed to help make us as effective as we can be for you, the producer. By getting involved with the county resolution process and attending the summer and winter commodity conferences, you can help keep us aware of the issues that are important to you. The MFBF Winter Commodity Conference will be held January 28 at the MFBF office in Jackson. Have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to a great meeting in January.

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Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation By Doug Ervin MFBF Land Program Coordinator

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Land Program is designed to give Mississippi landowners an opportunity to discuss and recommend solutions to problems that directly affect their land and, often, their livelihoods. Through this program, landowners are able to:

of our president and committee members, our land program has expanded its responsibilities to include not only land use issues but two new areas: wildlife resources and rural development. Goals of the wildlife resources area are determined by the land use committee. Issues and challenges facing members are evaluated each year and priorities placed on each to determine a focus for the land program’s efforts. Goals include: Wildlife Resources

• Identify and recommend issues for policy development purposes. Ervin • Identify emerging issues related to land. • Offer suggestions or clarification of existing policies. • Assist in the process of policy implementation when necessary.

Mississippi’s landmass is our greatest resource, with its wide-open spaces, dense pine and hardwood forests, rolling pastures, wetlands and wilderness, all within a few miles of our most urban areas. Mississippi’s land area is diverse and fascinating, providing habitat and recreational opportunities as well as food, fiber and fuel, both locally and around the globe. All of this is impressive within itself, but the greatest benefit provided to Mississippi landowners is an overwhelming sense of pride in land ownership. Each year, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation partners with organizations like the Mississippi State University Natural Resource Enterprises program to host a statewide workshop designed to help landowners better utilize their assets. In June, we hosted an advanced workshop on agritourism, which included instructions on how to write a business plan. Over 80 landowners attended the conference. The MFBF Land Use Committee is working on your behalf to keep up with emerging issues and to find solutions to problems that would have a negative impact on Mississippi landowners. Due to the foresight 8

Land

• Promote wildlife resources and related activities as an alternative source of revenue for farmers. • Inform the public about the economic benefits that hunting and fishing have on local economies (hotels, restaurants, gas and convenience stores). • Educate landowners on how to develop leases, liabilities, etc. • Work to obtain a funding source for promoting hunting and fishing in Mississippi. • Work to provide funding for research that benefits wildlife and wildlife habitat. • Provide more opportunities for youth hunting and fishing. • Maintain healthy wildlife populations. • Work with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. • Work to provide funding for wildlife research at Mississippi State University. Helping those who love and promote Mississippi’s wildlife resources is a key part of our mission. As new challenges arise, the land use committee is poised to address those problems for the good of its members.

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Program Mississippi agriculture is a key component of most rural communities, yet agriculture as an industry is becoming more reliant on the economic health of rural communities. Legislative, civic and business leaders must continue to seek ways to stimulate rural jobs and economic growth to sustain rural communities and the farms that surround them. The landscape of rural America is changing. The average age in rural communities is increasing, while these same communities are experiencing an outbound migration of younger generations in search of better educational and job opportunities. Many communities that once were vibrant now need assistance to maintain quality schools, medical facilities and essential infrastructure. Strengthening rural communities is a priority for Farm Bureau. Areas of outreach focus are entrepreneurship, local food systems, rural philanthropy, community leadership, community infrastructure, off-farm job opportunities, value-added agriculture and agritourism. Farm Bureau believes the following initiatives will maintain and revitalize rural America: Rural Development

• Economic Development – Value-added agriculture, competitive tax and regulatory incentives, expansion of the renewable fuels

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industry and USDA rural development programs all offer opportunities to stimulate job creation and enhance rural incomes. • Strengthening Education – Rural children deserve equal access to the educational opportunities afforded their urban and suburban counterparts. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act should be reauthorized and adequately funded. Farm Bureau also supports other initiatives, such as long-distance learning, to strengthen the foundation of rural educational systems. Farm Bureau is working in collaboration with national education organizations to assure that rural communities are accounted for. • Rural Infrastructure – Rural communities face significant challenges in handling their infrastructure needs and adapting to new technologies. Maintaining essential infrastructure, like roads, utilities, waterways and rail systems, is critical. Broadband Internet access must be extended to rural areas. Farm Bureau also supports the Universal Service Fund to assist in providing affordable communication services. • Health Care – More doctors and medical facilities are needed to serve residents of rural America. Farm Bureau supports initiatives, including telemedicine, to provide better access to medical professionals and facilities in rural areas. MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

Photo of male turkeys by Jeff Vanuga, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; photo of white-tailed deer running by Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS; photo of man fishing by MFBF staff; photo of mallard (on page 10) by Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS; photo of gadwall by Rob Heflin.

For more information about our MFBF Land Program, call (601) 624-1705. 9


Outdoor Recreation Generates Income for Landowners By W. Daryl Jones, Ph.D., and Adam T. Rohnke

Outdoor recreation in Mississippi accounts for substantial economic impact to the state and for income diversification for private landowners on their properties. How much money is brought into Mississippi with outdoor recreation related to hunting, fishing, bird watching and other outdoor-related recreation in a given year? A national survey helps answer this question. According to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation in Mississippi, 1.1 million resident and non-resident sportspersons recreated in Mississippi during 2006 and spent $1.1 billion, an increase from 1 million participants and $974 million in 2001. The survey is conducted nationwide every five years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to gather the current trends of recreational activity and associated expenditures of sportsmen and women. The survey has been conducted since 1955 and is instrumental in documenting American sportspersons’ long-term interest and economic impact in wildlife-related recreation. The report focuses on three main categories: angling, hunting and wildlife watching. Mississippi’s information has been summarized below.

Fishing has always been a spring and summer pastime for Mississippians and many of the state’s visitors. In 2006, 508,000 individuals participated in the activity and contributed $245 million to Mississippi’s economy. The majority of the participants’ expenditures included equipment (50 percent of angling expenditures), trip-related (i.e., transportation, food and lodging), and other (i.e., memberships, licenses, permits, stamps and land leasing) expenditures (44 percent). Hunting is a passion of many in our state as the survey indicated, with 304,000 individuals participating in the activity. This included large and small game and waterfowl. Participants spent $520 million on equipment (29 percent of hunting expenditures), trip-related (29 percent), and other (42 percent) expenditures. Angling and Hunting

Wildlife watching is a growing hobby in the U.S., with millions of participants nationwide and 731,000 individuals in Mississippi. The majority (606,000) of the participants wildlife watch around the home (< 1 mile from the home), while 246,000 enjoy the activity away from the home (> 1 mile from the home). Wildlife watchers spent $176 million for equipment (49 percent of viewing expenditures), trip-related (39 percent) and other (12 percent) expenditures in Mississippi. These are impressive expenditures for outdoor-related activities in the state, to say the least. But what is the economic impact? Before presenting these estimates, economic impact is derived from monies spent for any goods or services purchased by considering the direct, indirect and induced effects of dollars spent for the purchase. For example, when you purchase an automobile at your local dealership, monies for the purchase price go to support the economic status of the dealership directly. With additional sales, more automobiles are ordered by the dealership. New vehicle orders stimulate conWildlife Watching

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struction of vehicles at the Mississippi factory, with the use of additional raw materials and labor supplied by other suppliers and companies. These latter activities following your purchase result in indirect and induced economic impacts. In other words, the spending for your new vehicle stimulates a series of expenditures, with some effects being felt immediately and locally and others impacting economic activity in Mississippi and beyond later in time. As these dollars move through the economy, affecting different sectors, the overall effect of your car purchase is multiplied upward, yielding an overall economic impact. So, back to our original question: How much of an economic impact does outdoor recreation have on Mississippi? In the aforementioned national survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine spending for angling, hunting and wildlife watching in the U.S., expenditures for fishing by 508,000 resident and nonresident anglers totaled $245 million, producing $690 million in economic impact. Likewise, expenditures by 304,000 residents and visitors to Mississippi for hunting totaled $520 million, with these expenditures accounting for $1.2 billion in economic impact to the state. In terms of enjoying the opportunity to view wildlife in their natural settings in Mississippi, 246,000 individuals viewed wildlife away from their homes during 2006 and spent $176 million, accounting for $791 million in economic impact to the state. Thus, the overall economic impact to Mississippi from outdoor recreation totaled $2.7 million annually (2008 dollars). In addition to these estimates, outdoor outfitters, including hunting outfitters, agritourism farms and charter boat operators, accounted for over $50 million in economic impact to Mississippi. A large portion of these monies spent and the resulting positive impacts to local communities are associated with outdoor recreation occurring on private lands in the state, thereby enhancing family incomes of Mississippi landowners. As a final note, a 2008 MSU study found that outdoor recreation increased the financial value of private lands used for recreation by 52 percent or $654 per acre. In Mississippi, lands managed for wildlife and sold to other owners, between 2005-2008, leased for hunting recreation for $25 per acre on average. Outdoor recreation benefits the economic wellbeing and sustainability of natural resources of Mississippi and of landowners in the state. To learn more about ways to initiate fee-access outdoor recreation and conservation on your lands, please visit our Natural Resource Enterprises Program Web site at www.naturalresources.msstate.edu.

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Agritourism Sign Program The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) introduced a new Agritourism Sign Program with the recent unveiling of directional signage for Mitchell Farms in Collins. The Agritourism Sign Program is the result of a joint effort between MDAC and the Mississippi Development Authority to introduce members of the Mississippi Agritourism Association to various resources available to their industry through other state agencies and organizations. With input from the associated stakeholders, MDOT developed rules, regulations and guidelines for the Agritourism Sign Program. In early 2012, the Mississippi Transportation Commission formally authorized the program, which will now allow qualified agritourism businesses to have directional signage on the right-of-way of state-maintained highways. For more information, contact Johnny Durrett, Interstate Logos, at (601) 853-7100 or jdurrett@interstatelogos.com.

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(Left to right) Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, Jo Lynn Mitchell and Nelda Mitchell showcase the directional sign to Mitchell Farms, an agritourism operation located in Collins, which was unveiled at the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The sign is available through the new Agritourism Sign Program offered by MDOT.

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It’s About the

Total Experience

L By Glynda Phillips

Leasing his land to hunters is something Jefferson County cattle producer Mike McCormick has done for almost as many years as he has farmed. He says it is not only a good way to earn supplemental income with his 1,200-acre cow-calf and timber operation, but an effective way to manage the wildlife on his land, including wild turkey, deer, squirrels and wild hogs. “We are blessed with a dense population of wildlife in this area,” Mike said. “I hunt a little, but since I prefer to spend most of my time farming, this really helps me out.” And since he basically farms around the activities of the people who lease his land, he wanted the best group possible. “I wanted to know that there would be no aggressive hunting and that the hunters would close the gates,” he said. “The four men that I lease to enjoy hunting, but they also enjoy just being able to get out of town and spend some time in the country. They’ve killed some mountable deer, but this is more about the total experience. “The men who lease my land bring their children, and I let them ride with me on the 4-wheeler and look at the newborn calves and watch me put out hay,” Mike said. “One of the men brought his daughter along, and he told me that it was the first time she had heard silence. They live on a busy street in Baton Rouge.” Another daughter held her bachelorette party at the camp, and the young women had a lot of questions for Mike. “They wanted to know what farmers do and why,” he said. “There are a lot of misconceptions about farming today. People are becoming generations removed from farm life, and we have a lot that we take for granted. I like to teach them about farming and, hopefully, encourage them to appreciate agriculture.”

Mike has received nice letters from the young people who have visited his farm. Some of them have told him that the experience was the best vacation they have ever had. His Advice Mike says if you are interested in opening your land to a fee hunting operation, you need to lease to people who are easy to work with and who share your wildlife management philosophy. You need to also be aware that farm liability insurance doesn’t cover hunting leases. Separate insurance needs to be purchased for this. “It is helpful to keep this type of business small and low-key and to understand that, even though some farmers do this as a primary income, it usually represents just a good supplemental income,” he said. “For more information, you can talk to people who have done this,” he said. “You can also attend workshops, especially workshops presented by our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Land Program and the Natural Resource Enterprises Program at Mississippi State University.” Mike serves on the MFBF Board of Directors and the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board. He is chair of the MFBF Beef Advisory Committee and a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation Beef Advisory Committee. He also serves on the MFBF Land Use Committee. Mike farms land near Union Church that has been in his family since the 1820s. For more information about fee hunting and fishing, contact Daryl Jones at Mississippi State University at djones@cfr.msstate.edu or (662) 325-3133 or Adam Rohnke at (601) 857-2284. If you have land questions, you may also contact Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Land Program Coordinator Doug Ervin at (601) 6241705. 13


Drilling for Oil in Southwest Mississippi

By Glynda Phillips


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What is TMS? A source bed of premium-grade crude oil is trapped in a 5,900square-mile shale formation called Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) that stretches across southwestern Mississippi and central Louisiana to the border of Texas (the West TMS) and across Southwestern Mississippi eastward through a portion of Walthall County and south into a few Louisiana parishes (the East TMS). Experts say the formation may actually go all of the way down into the Gulf.

“ ” We expect thousands of people to move in and thousands of jobs to be created.

The depth of the formation varies from 9,000 to 14,000 feet, with a thickness of from 300 feet to over 800 feet. It is estimated that it holds about 7 billion barrels of oil, with the possibility of more reservoirs to be found beneath it. “The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation is actually the sibling formation to other shale formations that have been found in other areas of the nation,” said Britt Herrin, Executive Director, Pike County Economic Development District and Pike County Chamber of Commerce. “We have known about it for years but didn’t have the technology in place to tap it. Now, we do.” Horizontal drilling has been perfected so that drills can make a curve and better penetrate the rock found in the area. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been around for years, but new technology now allows companies to better monitor it. Workers can actually operate drills from computers in Dallas, Texas. “There has been some concern expressed about fracking, which shoots large volumes of water and sand, along with some chemicals, into the ground to break up the rock. But fracking is a very safe and well-established practice,” Herrin said. “Steel pipe, known as surface casing, is used as a conduit for the materials to protect area groundwater. Any problems that might arise aren’t related to the technology. We are very concerned about our natural resources and consider fracking a safe practice.”

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Photos and map provided by Britt Herrin.

f you haven’t already heard about the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation, then you will almost certainly hear about it in the coming months. Drilling has already begun in some areas of Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, and the number of wells in southwest Mississippi is expected to triple in the next six months, according to those who are working close to the project.

What This Means The TMS formation stretches across Adams, Amite, Franklin, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties. The so-called “sweet spot” for oil and some gas is in Amite and Wilkinson counties plus an area 30 miles south into Louisiana. Three major companies are interested: Encana and Goodrich Petroleum for Mississippi and Devon for Louisiana. Herrin says that approximately 1½ million acres of land have already been leased on both sides of the Mississippi-Louisiana border. One-half million – or about 600,000 to 700,000 – acres are in Mississippi. Mississippi is presently home to 12 wells. “By the end of the year, the number of wells is expected to be close to 30 or 40,” Herrin said. “We fully expect thousands of wells to be operating here in the next two years.” Herrin says the drilling should benefit not only area landowners but surrounding communities. “It is already benefitting us economically here in Pike County,” he said. “Our hotels are full, and our restaurants are full. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. “We expect thousands of people to move in and thousands of jobs to be created. It will be like what you see in Texas and North Dakota. Already, oil and gas technology training courses are being offered at our local community college.” Herrin says the southwest Mississippi area has the infrastructure in place to support all of this initially, with more building and expansion of highways planned for the future. He says a lot of rail will be used as well as some shipping. “At some point, all of this will cause challenges, but we feel certain that we can meet every one of them,” he said.

Domestic Fuel Oil has become expensive, and there exists in this country the desire to generate our own fuel. “When you combine this effort with our nation’s efforts to come up with alternative “green” fuels, I believe in my lifetime we will be able to totally cut off our dependence upon the Middle East for our oil,” Herrin said. Area landowners and others have been meeting to talk about what to expect and how to prepare for it. For more information, you may visit the Web site www.pikeinfo.com or call Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Land Program Coordinator Doug Ervin at (601) 624-1705.

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Leasing Farmland for Hunting & Fishing By Glynda Phillips

Eight years ago, Delta row crop farmer Josh Miller decided to lease his Sharkey County land to two separate hunting camps. One camp wanted to hunt deer, and one was interested in hunting deer and ducks. One of the camps leased 800 acres, and the other leased 600 acres.

“With land prices rising in the Delta in recent years, the money that I earn off these leases has subsidized what I pay to rent land to farm.” “Before I got involved in this, I talked to other people who had done something similar,” he said. “One of the main things they impressed upon me was to make sure that the guys took out insurance on their camps. “I also made sure that the men and I shared a similar wildlife management philosophy. I wanted them to shoot only quality deer – a certain size buck and a certain number of does – each year. Deer have become a problem in some areas of the state, but not here. This is a good way to keep their numbers under control. We are careful to always be good stewards of our wildlife.” Josh says he has a great group of guys leasing his land. “I have had no problems,” he said. “The two camps have

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proven to be a good way to earn supplemental income. With land prices rising in the Delta in recent years, the money that I earn off these leases has subsidized what I pay to rent land to farm.” Josh, his family and a friend have one other place on the river that they started as an equity-share company. They sold the land to the camp, which had 24 shareholders, for a small profit, then bought back a share. This particular camp offers deer and duck hunting and fishing. His Advice Josh says he would advise other farmers to consider adding a fee hunting or fishing endeavor to their operation if they have enough good available land. He says this is a great way to earn additional income. He estimates that the average hunting lease right now ranges from $10 to $25 an acre. Josh also put some marginal land (former fish ponds) into the Conservation Reserve Program, was paid for it, then turned around and leased the hunting rights on the land. He says landowners are allowed to do this. Josh farms cotton, peanuts, soybeans and corn on 1,400 acres of land in the lower Mississippi Delta. He sits on the board of directors of Sharkey County Farm Bureau and is a former member of the YF&R State Committee. For more information about fee hunting and fishing, contact Daryl Jones at Mississippi State University at djones@cfr.msstate.edu or (662) 325-3133 or Adam Rohnke at (601) 857-2284. If you have land use questions, you may also contact Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Land Program Coordinator Doug Ervin at (601) 624-1705.

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Solve the

T

?

Mystery

Our mystery town was Mississippi’s first planned city.

he nearby town of Cotton Gin Port, located on the Tombigbee River, was literally picked up, moved to a new location and renamed for an executive of the Frisco Railway. Founded in 1887, this Monroe County town became the midway point between Memphis and Birmingham for two railway systems. It was also where rail lines diverged, heading south to Mobile and Pensacola. The trains transported both freight and people. Frisco Railway played an important role in our mystery town’s early history, at one point employing 1,000 area residents and establishing a division office there. Today, this town offers rail transport through Mississippian Railway, Gulf Coast Railway and the BNSF Railway. It is also located near a major highway system and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Gilmore Foundation Businessman and philanthropist E.D. Gilmore and his wife Virginia established the town’s first hospital, Gilmore Sanitarium, in 1916. The Gilmores later endowed Gilmore Memorial Hospital, which opened in January 1961. Today, Gilmore Memorial Hospital is the area’s biggest employer. Our mystery town numbers 7,500 residents. They are a close-knit, hardworking group of folks, who possess a deep interest in education. Through the Gilmore Foundation, the town is known for its early childhood initiative, which offers a learning center free to the citizens of Monroe County. The foundation also offers a tuition guarantee for students who choose to attend Itawamba Community College. Students can continue on to a four-year college, and the foundation will assist with that. A child care center will be located in a former conference center. The foundation also provided wireless Internet service for the entire town for free. Industry & Recreation Agriculture is an important industry, with most area farmers growing row crops. The downtown area of our mystery town is a good place to shop and dine. Among the restaurants and cafes is the renowned Bill’s Hamburgers, begun in 1929 and still in operation today. Downtown, you will find Frisco Park, with its

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monument to Confederate soldiers and its Engine 1529, which pulled the train that brought President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the town in Nov. 18, 1934. The engine was given to the town in a formal ceremony in 1953. Also downtown, you will find The Windows, a former historic church that boasts beautiful stained glass windows. The building is now used for meetings, weddings, parties and other events. This town is a certified retirement community and works with the Main Street Association to promote downtown businesses. Industry for our mystery town ranges from furniture to wood pulp processing to sports equipment and textile manufacturing. Located as it is on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the town and surrounding area offer diverse recreational opportunities. The town is also a registered bird sanctuary. Famous folks from our mystery town include John Dye of Touched by an Angel fame and Mitch Moreland, first baseman with the Texas Rangers. Sam Haskell, former head of worldwide television at the William Morris Agency, was born here. Our mystery town is where Carl Perkins wrote “Blue Suede Shoes.” He was in town to catch a concert by Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Special events each year include a Railroad Festival, which celebrates the contributions of the railroad industry, and Entertainment for Education (or Stars over Mississippi), which is a benefit concert hosted by entertainers and musicians to raise money for local scholarships. Museum This town is home to a 13,000-square-foot museum that bears its name. The museum is located in the former Gilmore Sanitarium building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A state-of-the art, climate-controlled Gallery Annex, completed in 2007, allows the museum to host a wide range of art and history exhibits. The museum is affiliated with the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson and hosts its travelling art exhibits. Our mystery town’s museum charts the history of not only the town but the north Monroe County area, from 9,000 B.C. to contemporary times. Among the many exhibits, you will find a canoe dating back to the late 17th or early 18th century that was found in Malone Lake in 1979 by the Army Corps of Engineers during the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. On the grounds, you can visit a regulator-style log cabin, built between 1838 and 1840 and made of heart pine. It is fully furnished. The museum also offers a passenger coach called “Pasadena Hills” No. 1251, which is permanently attached to the building. The coach was a gift to the city from Frisco Railway and houses railroad memorabilia. Since the museum is located in the former Gilmore Sanitarium,

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you will find the original operating room, complete with antique surgical equipment. You will also find the original emergency room, waiting room and maternity ward. The museum boasts the sanitarium’s original Italian tile floors and original elevator, which still works. For more information about this town and its museum, call (662) 256-2761. A special thanks to Bo Miller, museum director, for his help with this article. Correct Guesses Mail guesses to Solve the Mystery, Mississippi Farm Country, P. O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215. You may also email your guesses to FarmCountry@MSFB.org. Please remember to include your name and address on the entry. Visit the 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 Nov. 30. September/October The correct answer for the September/October Solve the Mystery is Monticello.

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COUNSELâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CORNER

Hunting Leases Today By Sam E. Scott, MFBF General Counsel

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Hunting rights have become more and more valuable. Mississippi is blessed with abundant game and the habitat to support it. As hunting has moved through the stages in society from necessary to convenient to recreational and land availability has decreased, the leasing of hunting rights has become more important to both landowners and hunters. A written lease which sets forth the agreement of landowner or occupant as lessor and the hunter or hunters as lessee makes good sense from both standpoints. It is simply good business. A hunting lease covers the right to enter and use property for the pursuit, capture and taking possession of game. The owner of the property does not own the wild game, even if it is on his land. Legally, ownership of wild game is held by the State of Mississippi, and the pursuit and taking of game is closely regulated by the state for local game and by the United States government for migratory game, primarily dove and waterfowl. There are endangered species, which may not be taken. Hunters must be properly licensed, observe seasons and game bags, and use legal equipment and legal methods of hunting. Regulations are readily available.1 Written hunting leases are important because: (1) The agreement of the parties is plainly set forth; (2) Disputes and disagreements are much less likely; (3) If there are disputes, a written agreement makes resolution quicker, easier and cheaper; (4) Both lessor and lessee have more security that their rights will be protected; (5) In the event of death or disability of either party, a written lease will help ensure continuity of rights and responsibilities; (6) Parties who are willing to sign written agreements are usually more responsible than those who are not; (7) Poaching and trespassing are discouraged; (8) Law enforcement officers work well with responsible owners and hunters; (9) The availability of government-assisted wildlife programs is enhanced; (10) Most often, good lessees are good stewards of the land and often volunteer their efforts

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to help protect the land, enhance game environment and actually increase wildlife population. Good lessees often help to improve both the land and the game population, which also increases the value. Fortunately, hunting accidents are infrequent. Most common accidents seem to be when a hunter mistakes a human for an animal and shoots him or her; when a hunter takes a shot into woods or heavy brush, not knowing what or who may be there; in not utilizing gun safety; reckless operation of fourwheelers; and failing to use safety harnesses in tree stands. In our litigious society, a lease can and should provide protection for landowners from frivolous claims. Lessees should consider buying a liability insurance policy, especially in areas where development comes close to hunting lands, and the lessor should be made an additional insured in the policy. The cost of insurance is reasonable and protects hunters from personal liability and provides peace of mind. The more responsible the hunter/lessee, the better chance he or she has for long-term leases of good hunting land, which are increasingly scarce. There are a number of interests and important factors to be considered in hunting leases. These are discussed in the November/December 2006 issue of Mississippi Farm Country in an article by the author. Reprints of both it and a model hunting lease are available on my Web site.2 In conclusion, it is hoped that this will be of assistance to county Farm Bureau members and hunters.

1 Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, 1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, Mississippi 39211-6374, (601) 432-2400, www.mdwfp.com and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 1-800-344-WILD, www.fws.gov 2 www.samscottlaw.com Sam E. Scott is general counsel for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and practices law in the Law Firm of Samuel E. Scott, PLLC, in Jackson. The foregoing information is general in nature and is not intended as nor should be considered specific legal advice nor to be considered as MFBFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s position or opinion.

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The 91st annual membership meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation will be held Dec. 1-3 at the HiltonJackson hotel in Jackson. This year’s highlights will include the Farm Bureau Ambassador Contest, Young Farmers & Ranchers contests, Women’s Breakfast and Business Session and the two general sessions. The County Recognition Program is Sunday afternoon, and the Business Session convenes Monday morning. More detailed information will be made available as convention time draws near. A Gift that Keeps on Giving Christmas is a time of giving. At this year’s annual meeting, you will have several great opportunities to do your Christmas shopping while helping a good cause.

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The MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Program will again host silent and live auctions, while the MFBF Women’s Program will offer a Farm Bureau General Store. Proceeds from these events will help students with tuition costs. Scholarships awarded to deserving students in 2012 totaled $20,500. So, remember to bring your checkbook, do your Christmas shopping and give our ag students a gift that keeps on giving. For More Information For more information about the scholarships, contact MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Kirsten Johnson at (601) 977-4277 or MFBF Women’s Program Coordinator Clara Bilbo at (601) 977-4245.

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Nov. 8 State Resolutions Meeting MFBF Building Jackson

Nov. 16-22 National Farm-City Week

Dec. 1-3

Calendar of Events

MFBF Annual Meeting is Dec. 1-3

Nov. 6 Election Day

MFBF Annual Meeting Hilton Hotel Jackson

Jan. 13-16 AFBF Annual Meeting Nashville

Jan. 28-29 Winter Commodity Conference MFBF Building Jackson

Feb. 28 Mississippi Women for Agriculture Annual Conference Raymond

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MEMBER BENEFITS SPOTLIGHT

Coming Soon – ID Theft Credit Restoration By Greg Gibson, MFBF Member Services Director

Identity theft happens everywhere, every day, in every type of company. Fraudsters exchanged 12 million pieces of personal information online in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 300% since 2010, according to credit-checking firm Experian. The company said many people were unaware their identity had been stolen until they were refused credit cards or mobile phone contracts, according to the BBC. Identity theft victims commonly experience refusal of loans or credit cards (14%), debts being run up in their name (9%), refusal of mobile phone contracts (7%) and being chased by debt collectors for money they do not owe (7%). In an effort to help Farm Bureau members who have experienced identity theft, Farm Bureau will soon be offering an ID Theft Credit Restoration service through ID Experts. This company is one of the leading credit restoration companies in the country and is already partnered with several other state Farm Bureaus to help their members with credit restoration. Identity theft credit restoration assistance will be provided to all Farm Bureau member families at no cost to them. If a member believes they have been the victim of identity theft, a toll-free number will be available to report the incident, and a credit restoration assistance expert will work on behalf of the member to help restore credit to the pre-theft status. This program will provide personalized, fully-managed credit restoration assistance by a dedicated expert who will stay with the member throughout the entire process. This will free the victim from the time-consuming work involved in restoring their credit. We hope to have this program in place by the first of the year. Watch for more details. Hunters Can Save As hunting season begins, don’t forget to take advantage of Farm Bureau’s discount with the Mossy Oak Online Store. Members can receive 10% off of items purchased online. To take advantage of this benefit, go to www.msfb.org and click on Member Benefits. Then click on the Mossy Oak tab and follow the instructions to receive your discount. Got Gear Motorsports of Ridgeland is also offering free installation of a winch (cost of winch not included) when you purchase any ATV. This is a $125 value and can get you or your buddy out of trouble deep in the woods. Take your Farm Bureau membership card to the dealership when you purchase the ATV and ask for the free installation when you add the winch to your purchase. Your membership is packed with many money-saving discounts. For more information on these or any of the many other member benefits, call your county Farm Bureau office or visit www.msfb.org.

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An Asset to Farm Bureau By Glynda Phillips

Kay Perkins’ upbeat, can-do attitude benefits not only her church, family, friends and community but the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) as well. Through the years, she has proven to be a real asset to our MFBF Women’s Program. Kay has served as Region 2 Women’s Chair for 12 years and as Tishomingo County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair for 16 years. Before that, she co-chaired her county women’s committee for four years. “I love the women’s program so much,” she said. “I have made so many dear friends, and I have seen so much accomplished through this program on behalf of agriculture and Farm Bureau.” Ag in the Classroom Kay says Ag in the Classroom (AITC) is one of the most important aspects of the MFBF Women’s Program. “The amazement of the kids when they find out where their food 24

is grown is so great,” she said. “Most of the children who grew up around here know about agriculture already, but we have some kids moving in who have never visited a farm. “I think Ag in the Classroom is a necessary program,” she added. “It helps to teach not only school kids but adults because the children go home and tell their parents what they have learned.” Kay regularly takes AITC material into schools and the public library. “I ask the teachers if they have any needs for a project they might be doing,” she said. “During the summer, in honor of June Dairy Month, the library offers a dairy program, and we serve ice cream to the kids. This year, we also had a bookmark contest for both the older and younger children. “I have one county vice chair in my region who invites school children to visit her farm in Prentiss County in recognition of June Dairy Month. It is always a very successful event. “At one time, the Iuka area had a lot of dairies, but now, we have none,” Kay said. “Our biggest agricultural commodity is timber in the

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form of pines. We have a couple of beef cattle farmers and a few cotton and soybean farms. We also have some small family farms with a few goats and pigs.” Volunteer Leaders Kay and her husband Jim joined Farm Bureau soon after they married. Kay says her father was a long-time Farm Bureau member. “I don’t remember a time when our families were not active in Farm Bureau,” she said. “Jim and I really believe in it. We would be losing a lot more farmers without organizations like Farm Bureau.”

school class together and a Wednesday night Bible class. They are involved in the public schools, and they sponsor ball teams, through the veterinary practice, every season. “Iuka is such a good place to live,” she said. “Everybody is close here, and the crime is low. Plus, this is a beautiful area of the state. We are located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, so the area looks just like the Smokies. Woodall Mountain, the highest point in Mississippi, is right behind our house.”

More Info Kay encourages anyone interested in learning more about the MFBF Women’s Program to visit their county Farm Bureau office. Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization, so everything begins at the local level. You can also contact MFBF Women’s Program Coordinator Clara Bilbo at (601) 977-4245.

The amazement of the kids when they find out where their food is grown is so great.

The Perkins moved to Tishomingo County from Alcorn County in 1971 when Jim began a mixed animal veterinary practice in Iuka. Kay helps out at the clinic and has done so since the first day. “We raised our kids in a playpen in the office,” she said with a smile. The Perkins are proud of their large, close family. In addition to their six children, they have 16 grandchildren, ages 23 to 1½. Kay says they get together often and have a lot of fun together. She also enjoys being a vet’s wife. “We love animals, so this has been a real joy,” she said. Kay and Jim are active in their church and community. They teach a Sunday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

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WHITE OAK

By Glynda Phillips

Baskets

The nice thing about my job is that I get to meet the Mississippians who are preserving the traditions of our farming ancestors. Aaron Griggs of Houlka is one such person. Retired from the furniture industry, he now spends much of his time perfecting the fine art of old-timey basket making. Aaron crafts white oak baskets. Back when Mississippiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rural landscape was dotted with hundreds of small family farms, baskets like these were a necessity. They helped with everyday chores like egg gathering, carrying feed out to the livestock, storing freshly picked cotton, and even shopping at the general store. Aaron makes his own splits from the young white oaks growing in the woods close to his home. Friends also allow him to harvest 26

white oaks from their land. He will select the right size tree, usually four to six inches in diameter, chop it into 4- to 6-foot sections, then split the wood along the grain, time and again, until he has a bundle of flexible splits that are the right size for what he intends to make, whether it is the body of a basket, the trim or the handle. His hand tools include a draw knife, pocket knife, froe, maul, wedge and hammer. Aaron uses wood from the heart of the tree for the rims and handles because it is stronger. He often dyes the trim with a dye made from walnut or hickory nut shells. The basket itself will age to a soft brown patina. Traditional Way Aaron says not many people nowadays make baskets the tradi-

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tional way. He says that’s the difference between a basket weaver and a true basket maker. “More and more people are using basket kits. I carve the wood myself. I go down the grain, and that makes my baskets stronger,” he said. “Eighty percent of my time is spent preparing the wood, and only twenty percent is spent weaving. I will weave some, let it dry, peck it down tight, then weave some more. My baskets are tight.” Aaron makes a large melon basket with ribs that curve out. Others include a market basket, a gathering basket, a door knob basket (to hold potpourri), a ribbed egg basket and a small egg basket. He also makes feed and garden baskets. He says he had always been interested in basket making, but a visit he and his wife made to Mountain View, Arkansas, sealed the deal. “I watched a 90-year-old man make a white oak basket, and he taught me the basics,” he said. “I got additional information from books and the Internet. “My parents lived in Tennessee for a while, and I still have relatives who live there. Tennessee has white oak basket festivals, and NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

Kentucky does, too,” he said. “Mississippi has never celebrated the white oak basket, but it figures prominently in our early farm life.” A Fine Hobby Aaron is a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and sells at the Mississippi Crafts Center in Ridgeland. He plans to attend the 10th Annual Soule’ Live Steam Festival and Meridian RailFest in Meridian on Nov. 2-3 to sell his baskets and to demonstrate basket making. “I just make a few baskets at a time because wood is scarce and because making just one takes a lot of time,” he said. “This is a hobby for me. I love doing it, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction. Plus, there aren’t many of us left, so I am proud to carry on a tradition.” Aaron says most people buy his baskets for decoration. In addition to the baskets, he weaves chair seats from the living bark of a hickory tree. For more information, call him at (662) 568-7297 or agriggs@frontiernet.net.

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Pictured, from left, are Jessica Wellborn, David Carter, Barbara Butler, Noble Guedon and Fayla Guedon.

Farm Bureau Spotlight

Adams County Adams County Farm Bureau volunteer leaders are excited about the new programs and projects they are surfacing that are designed to teach consumers about agriculture and the Farm Bureau organization. “We appreciate the wisdom and vision of our board members,” said Adams County Farm Bureau President Noble Guedon, who served as chair of the 2010 Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) State Committee. “Our board has a very progressive mindset and is coming up with some great new ways to promote not only agriculture but the organization as a whole.”

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By Glynda Phillips

Adams County Farm Bureau now has Facebook, Twitter and Web site accounts. It has also established a scholarship fund in memory of Mike Ray. Fundraising will be modeled after the State YF&R Scholarship Foundation fundraising effort. The county office in Natchez offers a commodity of the month display that is both beautiful and informative. A lighted digital sign out front talks about Mississippi’s agricultural commodities, the commodity of the month and our many Farm Bureau member benefits. Each year, the county sponsors a hot air balloon in the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in Natchez, which is huge in that area of the state. Last year, the balloon with the Farm Bureau logo on it won the ring toss, one of three competitive events that weekend. Adams County makes a point of participating in state events like Ag Day at the Capitol and the Washington D.C. trips. The county took 14 members from Adams and Jefferson counties to the annual

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YF&R Clay Shoot. Noble serves on the state communication, cotton and land use committees. His wife Fayla, who is the county women’s chair, has attended the State Women’s Conference and participates in the coloring contest and Ag in the Classroom programs. This past summer, Adams County Farm Bureau sponsored its first-ever summer youth camp, called Adams County Farm Camp.

Adams County Farm Camp Photos by Fayla Guedon

Youth Camp Kids attending the Adams County Farm Camp in June benefited from cattle, blueberry, forestry, equine, hay, sod, aquaculture and pond management stops. They also visited the Guedon family’s soybean fields and learned about soybean production. Kids learned about wildlife conservation from a Mississippi State University (MSU) biologist and dissected an owl pellet to look at the bones and determine what type of animal the bird had eaten. They visited a vegetable garden with peas, squash, tomatoes, sweet corn and okra. A few of the kids pulled up the entire plant instead of simply picking vegetables off of the vine. “Some of these kids had never visited a garden and didn’t know what to do,” said Adams County Farm Bureau Vice President David Carter, whose idea it was to hold the camp. David is the MSU Extension Service director for Adams County. “I had done something similar with county agents, but this was the first time our office had ever participated in an agricultural camp for kids,” he said. “It was hands-on, and the kids were so excited about what they saw and what they learned.

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“I’d say about 75 percent of the kids who participated in this had never been on a farm,” David said. “Most kids had zero prior experience. When you talk to kids in a classroom and they listen, they learn about 20 percent. When you actually take them out into a field and they can see what is going on, that goes up to 90 percent. Most of these kids talked about this for days afterwards. They were so excited.” “Our youth camp was a huge success, and I hope we can do this again next year,” Noble said. “This summer, we hosted about 30 kids from the Adams County area. Next year, we hope to have even more participants. We might hold it earlier or later in the year to get around other activities that were competing for their interest. “We would like to encourage other county Farm Bureaus to do something similar,” he concluded. “This not only helped spread the word about agriculture, it helped spread the word about Farm Bureau and what we do for farmers. “If we don’t do this, I don’t know who will.” The two-day camp was sponsored by Farm Bureau with help from the local Soil and Water and MSU Extension Service offices. The $15 fee included meals, a t-shirt and transportation by bus. The camp ran from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. both days. Adams County Farm Bureau would like to thank everyone who helped with the first annual Adams County Farm Camp, especially MSU Extension 4-H/4H Youth Agent Jason Gerrard Jones. Some History Established in 1940, Adams County Farm Bureau currently has 2,138 members. Board members include Noble Guedon, president; David Carter, vice president; Melanie Sojourner, secretary/treasurer; Fayla Guedon, women’s chair; Bubba Davidson, Jackie Sojourner, Sandra Sojourner, David Nations, Phil Lindley, Dempsey White, Boyd White, Buster Junkin, Chester Hoover and Cledis Abernathy. Agency manager is Moose Tolbert. Membership secretary is Barbara Butler. Secretary is Jessica Wellborn. Agents are Phil Hennington and John L. Sullivan. Regional manager is Doug Ervin. Regional women’s chair is Betty Edwards. 30

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Bill Spain is Mississippi Farmer of the Year ber. Laura’s husband, Jerry, is another key employee who handles fertilizer applications and keeps records on grain hauling. Justin Taylor, who is married to Spain’s daughter Jessica, is a key employee who handles spraying, planting and scouting the soybeans. Spain believes in introducing agriculture to new generations and hosts kindergarten students during visits to his farm. Spain is a member of the Prentiss County Farm Bureau, where his father serves on the board of directors. Spain also serves many other agricultural and civic organizations. He and his wife Teri are active in Gaston Baptist Church. Spain has two adult daughters, Jennifer and Jessica, from a previous marriage. As this magazine was going to press, Spain was scheduled to join nine other state winners as finalists for the overall title to be announced in mid-October.

illiam “Bill” Spain of Booneville has been selected as the 2012 Mississippi winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. A farmer for 37 years, Spain’s operation consists of about 3,900 acres of mostly rented land, along with 830 acres of owned land. Soybeans, cotton and wheat are his major crops. He grows soybeans on 2,856 acres, cotton on 1,050 acres and wheat on 517 acres. Though he doesn’t irrigate, his yields are impressive. Last year, he produced 35 bushels per acre of soybeans, 900 pounds of lint per acre of cotton and 60 bushels per acre of wheat. The land he farms is part of a larger 6,400-acre family farming business. His father, Billy Spain, began farming full-time in 1968. Bill started helping him on the farm as soon as he was old enough. He hauled hay, showed cattle in 4-H and drove tractors. Spain’s mother, Marie, is active in the family farming business. She keeps financial records and is assisted in this and in cooking for the family and their employees by Spain’s sister, Laura Har-

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This article was written by John Leidner, a freelance writer, for Swisher International. The photos were taken by Prentiss County Farm Bureau Secretary Christina Caveness.

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Berta Lee White Scholarship

Four deserving female college students each received a $2,000 Berta Lee White Scholarship this year. Recipients include, from left, Jessica Marie Wilkinson, Franklin County, Hinds Community College; Kayla Ann Lewis, Chickasaw County, Mississippi State University; Kilee Michelle Goforth, DeSoto County, Mississippi State University; and Patricia Danielle Mann, Smith County, Mississippi State University. The scholarship is presented annually by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Program.

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MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY

MWA Annual Conference

Mark your calendar to attend the 2013 Mississippi Women for Agriculture (MWA) Annual Conference to be held Feb. 28, 2013, in Raymond. The meeting will include the 2013 MWA Annual Business Session, the Diane Evans Lecture, and updates on current issues that affect women farmers and ranchers in Mississippi. Register online at www.msucares.com/womenforag/index.html or call Sylvia Clark at (662) 3251801 for more details. The $50 registration fee includes 2013 dues.

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2012-2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Foundation Recipients

Joanna Lee King of Yazoo County $2,000 YF&R Scholarship, MSU

Rakel Leigh Gibson of Lee County $1,500 Hugh M. Arant Scholarship, MSU

Emerald DeNae Barrett of Attala County $2,000 YF&R Scholarship, MSU

Steve Parker Harris of Leflore County $1,500 David Waide Scholarship, MSU

Taylor Anne King of Yazoo County $2,000 YF&R Scholarship, MSU

Alan Charles Smith of Pearl River County $2,000 YF&R Scholarship, MSU

Right: Alexandria Diane Moore of Chickasaw County $1,500 Don Waller Scholarship, MSU

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Members of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors met at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona to tour Mississippi State University research facilities in that area of the state. The program included a livestock presentation by Dr. Holly Boland and field tours by Dr. Normie Buehring. Board members and spouses also toured the centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Magnolia Botanical Gardens. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

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November/December 2012  

MFBF Land Program

November/December 2012  

MFBF Land Program

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