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Farm Bureau and the




A Publication of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation •

MISSISSIPPI FARM CO UNTRY Volume 87 Number 5 September/October 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


Features 12


Fulmer’s General Store near New Augusta harkens back to a simpler time when the country store served as the hub of a community. Come with us as we pay a visit.

1 4 HIGH TUNNEL VEGGIES Lee County produce farmer William Tucker is well-pleased with his new high tunnel greenhouse. Read his story inside.

2 2 SOLVE THE MYSTERY Which Tishomingo County town takes its name from the Chickasaw leader who signed the Treaty of Pontotoc? Read the clues and make your guess. “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 5 Eminent Domain Initiative 6 -7 Commodity Updates 2 0 Counsel’s Corner 2 4 Member Benefits Spotlight

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

About the cover A donation from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation supports ag education efforts at the Mississippi Children's Museum in Jackson. Read all about this on pages 8-10.

Design: Coopwood Communications, Inc.




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


An Excellent Safety Program

arming is one of America’s most dangerous occupations. I think about this in the fall, when stress levels tend to run pretty high. Maybe we are experiencing equipment breakdowns, or we are short on employees and working against a deadline, or maybe bad weather is threatening the crop that we are trying so hard to get out of the field. Whatever the reason, we are in a hurry, and we begin to take shortcuts and make mistakes. One of the first programs Farm Bureau offered members back in the early 1950s was a Farm Safety Program designed to address safety issues related to the farm. Through the years, that program has grown into what is now known as the Safety Program, which focuses not only on farm safety but home safety as well. When you pay your membership dues each year, you gain access to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Safety Program, and it is one of the best in the nation. Here are some of the areas it addresses: ● Farm Safety Survey ● Certified CPR ● First Aid and Home Safety ● Fire Safety ● Chainsaw Safety ● Machinery and Shop Safety ● ATV Safety ● Fatal Vision-Drinking and Driving ● Texting and Driving

Three Farm Bureau safety specialists present these programs at schools, clubs and churches across the state. They are John Hubbard (senior specialist) in North Mississippi, Trey Pope in Central Mississippi, and Chris Shivers in South Mississippi. You can schedule one of the programs by contacting your local Farm Bureau office or by calling the state office at 1-800-227-8244, ext. 4242. In order to get the date you want, you should call to book your date at least two months in advance. Farm Bureau also teaches safety programs to young people attending our annual Youth Safety Seminar. This camp, which is designed for students who will be entering the 7th-12th grades, offers youths an opportunity to not only learn about safety but enjoy recreation and fellowship with new friends from across the state. For more information, contact your county Farm Bureau, or call the state office. You might not know this, but ATV Safety in the U.S. originated in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Safety Department. 4

Back in the 1980s, our ATV Safety Program was featured on “20/20,” “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,” NBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Also in the early 1980s, we were instrumental in helping form the ATV Safety Institute. The late Mike Blankenship, who served as our Safety Department Director for 20 years, was one of the first chief ATV instructors in the United States. We have produced three ATV videos that are used all over the U.S. and Canada. Our safety program is without equal, and I want to encourage you to take advantage of all that it has to offer, including related Member Benefits such as reduced prices on a booster seat for children and a car seat for infants. We also sell deer alerts, SMV decals and emblems, pepper shot self defense spray, leather work gloves and safety glasses. If you would like to purchase any of these items, contact your county Farm Bureau office, or call the state office. In conclusion, I will remind Mississippi farmers (myself included) to slow down this harvest season. Don’t take shortcuts. They might save you a little time at the moment, but in the long run, they could cost you time, money and maybe even your life. Be careful out there, and have a safe and bountiful harvest season.

Eminent Domain: Let the People Speak This issue of our membership magazine features information concerning eminent domain reform, which Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) strongly supports. Recently, Leland Speed filed suit to keep the people’s eminent domain initiative off the ballot, but the Circuit Court dismissed his case and ordered that the initiative be placed on the ballot. Speed appealed, and the Mississippi Supreme Court has put the case on a fast track for early decision. Unless the Supreme Court strikes down the initiative, it will be included on the Nov. 8 ballot. All along, MFBF has said, “Let the people vote.” Please continue to support eminent domain reform and save our land.




Land Ownership is the American Dream Tunica County farm leader Richy Bibb testified in support of Initiative 31, eminent domain reform, at a public forum in Southaven hosted by Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. The forum, which looked at the three initiatives to be included on the Nov. 8 ballot, was held in all areas of the state this summer. Bibb is a past president of Tunica County Farm Bureau.

Randy Knight, President, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

Owning a piece of land is the American dream. It’s what brought our forefathers to these shores hundreds of years ago, and it is what propelled pioneers westward in search of greener pastures. It is also one of the reasons why some 1.5 million immigrants arrive in our country every year seeking a better life for themselves and their families. When I step outdoors each morning and catch that first glimpse of the farmland that has been in my family for generations, I count my blessings. I breathe in the early morning country air, listen to the sounds my farm makes as it is waking up, and say a quiet prayer of thanks. If you’ve ever owned land, you know how I feel. Land means freedom. Land is an investment in the futures of our children and grandchildren. Land is the single most essential natural resource in a farmer’s efforts to make a living every year. We must never take for granted the freedom we have to own our own property. All of this brings up another issue of importance to Farm Bureau members: eminent domain reform. Historically, eminent domain has been defined as the government’s right to take land, through fair compensation, for public use. In more recent years, that definition has been expanded. Eminent domain now gives government the right to take private property not only for public use but for private development. That opens up a whole new can of worms. When I remember how hard one Mississippi family fought to hold onto their ancestral land when big industry wanted to build a plant


there, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. Hardworking citizens should never feel forced to use their hard-earned dollars to fight that type of battle. Defending eminent domain cases is expensive and beyond the means of most citizens. People of limited resources are at greatest risk of becoming victims. But here’s something wonderful about America. We are not afraid to speak up. Last fall, Mississippians lifted their voices to say that they are tired of the nonsense. Approximately 120,000 registered voters signed petitions calling for an initiative to be placed on the 2011 ballot that will reform our eminent domain laws. The initiative prohibits a transfer of land taken by eminent domain for a period of 10 years before turning it over to a private party. Opponents will argue that reforming private property laws will stifle economic development, but that has not been the case with the 43 states that have already passed strong eminent domain laws. If eminent domain reform hasn’t hindered economic development efforts in these 43 states, why on earth would it do so in Mississippi? Will you join us? When you participate in the November general election, look for Initiative 31 and vote YES for strong private property laws. Let’s put an end to eminent domain abuse for good. Hopefully, with God’s help and our own vigilance, those freedoms that form the bedrock foundation upon which our great nation has prospered will remain strong well into the foreseeable future. And all of us will be proud to call Mississippi our home for many more years to come.




Interest in Beekeeping Growing Stan Yeagley, MFBF Apiculture Advisory Committee Chair Terry Norwood, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Apiculture

some away because of space limitations,” Interest in beekeeping has grown sigsaid Harry Fulton, apiculture specialist nificantly over the last three years. In with the MDAC Bureau of Plant Industry. fact, the number of beekeepers has increased nationally by 10 to 15 percent, “The goal of these short courses is simply according to Kim Flottum, editor of Bee to teach beginner beekeepers and hobby Culture magazine. People want to learn beekeepers how to manage honey bee about beekeeping as a hobby, or as a new colonies to maximize honey production business, or they are interested in learnand, in some cases, just keep them alive. ing the latest techniques to fight off pests “Lots of people just want bees to polliand diseases in their established bee nate their gardens, but it takes proper mancolonies. Yeagley Norwood agement to control pests and diseases, Since 2008, 1,700 people have atwhich have just about destroyed the wild honey bee population tended beekeeping workshops sponsored by Mississippi State during the last 20 years,” he said. “Without proper knowledge and University, Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Stamanagement, a beekeeper could become frustrated and discourtion (MAFES), the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), and the Mississippi Beekeepers Associa- aged.” For more information about short courses and other topics of tion. “This year, we had 175 attend our one-day course in Jackson, interest, visit the Mississippi Beekeepers Association Web site at: and after we hit 130 at our two-day workshop, we had to turn and look under Beekeeping News.

Here are some interesting facts about Mississippi honey bees:

• A recent study by Cornell University determined that the annual economic value of honey bee pollination is $14.7 billion. In Mississippi, the annual pollination value is estimated at over $250 million, and may be close to $400 million. For agriculture, honey bees pollinate fruits, berries, vegetables, cotton, soybeans, peanuts and wild plants. • Mississippi produces from 1.1 million to 1.5 million pounds of honey annually with an economic wholesale value of $1 million. State beekeepers also produce queens and packaged bees worth more than $750,000. Among states, Mississippi ranks from 23rd to 25th in honey production. • Mississippi had the highest honey production per colony in the nation for the years 2006-2008. Beekeepers harvested 98 pounds of honey in 2006, 105 pounds in 2007, and 98 pounds in 2008. • Mississippi beekeeping businesses are family-owned and operated. • Mississippi has between 20,000 and 30,000 colonies during the summer and 80,000 to 100,000 during the winter. • In 2008, the top five queen bee/package-producing counties were Wayne, Lee, Stone, Hinds and Warren. The top five Mississippi counties in honey production were Jackson, Tallahatchie, Yazoo, Coahoma and Hinds. • Colony health is something that is taken very seriously in Mississippi. Our state doesn’t have a problem with Colony Collapse Disorder like some other areas of our nation. But we do have a problem with the hive beetle, which is devastating to Southern beekeepers and honey houses. Our bees are inspected for hive beetles and fire ants when they are taken outside the state. Beekeepers say Mississippi needs more research in the area of the hive beetle. This information is courtesy of Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.




COMMODITY UPDATE: RICE Gary Fioranelli, MFBF Rice Advisory Committee Chair Justin Ferguson, MFBF Commodity Coordinator for Rice

Rice - Frequently Asked Questions As a rice farmer from the Delta, I am often asked questions about the numerous aspects of the rice industry. Questions about production, marketing and even cooking come from every angle in most conversations. Through this brief article, I thought I would list some of the more frequently asked questions and provide answers for the benefit of our readers. Justin Ferguson Is rice actually grown in the U.S.? If so, where?

Answer: Rice is a major commodity produced worldwide and is the primary dietary staple for over half of the world’s population. Yes, rice is indeed grown in the U.S., to the tune of about 20 billion pounds and about 2.7 million acres. U.S. rice farmers produce less than 2 percent of the world’s annual rice supply, but are the world’s fourth-largest rice exporter, sending roughly half of their annual rice crop to the export market. On the domestic consumption side, nearly 85 percent of the rice consumed in the U.S. is grown here. It is primarily raised in six states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and California. Arkansas is the largest rice-producing state, typically with over 1.3 million acres planted annually, or about half of the U.S. rice crop. Mississippi typically ranks fourth in rice production among the six riceproducing states and makes up about 7 percent of the U.S. crop. We grow about 200,000 acres or over 1.3 billion pounds of rice every year. In Mississippi, rice is grown mostly in the Delta counties of Bolivar, Sunflower,

which are very high in minerals and vitamins, especially the B-complex group. Because of the oil in the bran layer, brown rice has a limited shelf life of about six months. Refrigerator or freezer storage is recommended for longer shelf life. Milled rice – white, parboiled or pre-cooked – will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf.

Gary Fioranelli

Washington, Tunica, Leflore, Tallahatchie and Quitman. What is the difference between long-, medium-, and short-grain rice?

Answer: Long-grain rice has a long, slender kernel, three to four times longer than its width. Cooked grains are separate, light and fluffy. It is perfect for pilafs, stir-fry and Southern favorites like jambalaya and gumbo. Almost all of the rice grown in the U.S. is long-grain rice. Medium- and shortgrain rice have a shorter, wider kernel. Cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together. Short- and medium-grain rice are good choices for dishes that have a creamier characteristic, such as risotto and rice puddings, as well as sushi and other Asian dishes. So what is the difference between white rice and brown rice? Answer: White rice has the outer husk removed and the layer of bran milled away until the grain is white. Brown rice has the outer husk removed but still retains the bran layers,

How much rice does the average American eat annually? Answer: Americans consume about 26 pounds of rice per year, compared to about 125-140 pounds annually for most consumers in Asian countries. Are there other uses for rice? Answer: Yes, rice is used in baby food, breakfast cereals, snacks, frozen foods, sauces, and even beer. You may be surprised to learn that the Anheuser-Busch Company is the largest buyer of rice in the United States used in the production of beer. What is “wild rice?” Answer: Wild rice, contrary to the name, is not actually a member of the rice family, although it is a grain-producing grass. Native to North America, wild rice can still be found growing wild in certain parts of the country. Most of the “wild rice” you see in stores is actually a distant cousin to real wild rice that is commercially grown and harvested, just as other rice. In summary, I hope these brief points have been educational for our readers. As we celebrate National Rice Month in September, please support Mississippi rice farmers by buying rice and adding this healthy, affordable grain to meals for your family.

Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon Delta Rice Promotions, Inc. will host the 21st Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon in Cleveland on Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Delta State University’s Walter Sillers Coliseum. Over 300 rice dishes, prepared by area residents and restaurants, will be featured. Goody bags and door prizes will be given away and exhibits will be on display. This year’s luncheon will feature a rice cook-off between three Delta chefs, Dave Crews, Walt Norwood and David Wright, from


10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are $3 and may be purchased at county Extension offices throughout the Delta, as well as local Farm Bureau offices, and will be available for purchase at the door. Please call 662-8438371 for more information. Delta Rice Promotions, Inc. is a group of individuals representing farmers, agri-businesses, farm organizations, and government agencies.



By Glynda Phillips

i p p i s s i Miss &The

Farm Bureau


hildren can’t believe their eyes when they step inside the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson. Filled with all types of colorful interactive learning exhibits that are designed to keep kids happily occupied for hours, this great new museum truly lives up to its motto as a “destination for imagination and adventure.” Taking visitors on a journey of learning through the museum, with a very special emphasis on agriculture, is Program Associate Kelsey Barnett, pictured at left with visitors to the “Big Red Barn.” Kelsey benefits from a donation from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation that supports classroom educational material about agriculture and helps fund a staff-level position devoted to coordinating agricultural exhibits and hosting educational seminars and activities for school groups. In simple terms, Kelsey spends a lot of time planning and implementing fun agricultural activities in coordination with the museum’s different galleries. She uses materials from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Ag in the Classroom program to supplement her efforts. Here are the five galleries and some of their ag-related exhibits and/or events:

World at Work

This gallery focuses on science and technology, offering exhibits about forestry, energy and construction. In the area of agriculture, kids learn about the different forestry vocations and species of trees in our state. Kids make leaves by placing paper over metal leaves and rubbing a crayon over the paper. They can also visit the “Big Red Barn,” a great agricultural exhibit. At the barn, children can drive a combine, listen to the sounds of farm animals, and even try milking a fake cow.

Children’s Museum Express Yourself

This gallery features self-expression in the form of painting, singing, dancing, and musical instruments. One past agricultural craft had kids making potato stamps to learn about potatoes and how they are grown. Children have also made seed collages to learn about planting and gardening.

Exploring Mississippi

This gallery features a 5,000-square-foot map of Mississippi that kids can climb or walk all over. In the area of agriculture, children can learn about the major crops grown in our state. The gallery also offers a shrimp boat and a farm-raised catfish pond, where children can “fish” for catfish then weigh them to see if they weigh enough to sell.

Wi ld About Readi ng

This gallery encourages reading, storytelling and writing. It features a “Between the Lions” exhibit that is based on the award-winning PBS children’s show that is produced in part by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. In the area of agriculture, one past program taught children about vowels by relating them to farm animal sounds and other noises on a farm.

H ealthy Fun

This gallery encourages exercise, cooking and healthy eating habits. To teach kids about our state’s agricultural commodities, Kelsey devised a competitive relay race in which kids delivered the different foods needed to make an accurate food pyramid. In this gallery, kids can also visit a farmers market with its wooden bins filled with plastic fruits and vegetables. When they scan a particular fruit or vegetable, a screen tells them all about it.

Kayla Young, left, is the daughter of Keith and Camille Young; Ashlyn Thompson is the daughter of Larry and Angela Thompson, all of Madison County.




Steering the combine at the “Big Red Barn.”

Every Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., special programming is held to emphasize the different galleries in the museum. Each weekday, storytime is held at 1 p.m. On Wednesdays at 3 p.m., anyone at the museum can participate in a “Puppet Play Workshop,” where Kelsey helps you make puppets and encourages puppet shows. Every Friday at 2:30 p.m., Kelsey coordinates the Farm Bureau Spotlight program. The Farm Bureau Spotlight is held in a different gallery each week in order to emphasize the broadness of our state’s agricultural industry. Many times, the Farm Bureau Spotlight will coincide with the “Letter of the Week” or

a particular theme. On a recent Friday, in the World of Work gallery, kids learned about careers in agriculture from actual farm kids. “I like to get as creative as possible,” she said. “I grew up around the daycare that my mother directs. I have worked in daycares, taught dance, and directed summer camps for years, so I have a great background in working creatively with children.” Kelsey is a graduate of Belhaven University with a degree in Arts Administration. Her background is art, music and dance. In the months since the museum opened in December 2010, Kelsey says over 100,000 people have visited from all over the U.S. That is exciting news, not only for the Mississippi Children’s Museum but for Farm Bureau and state agriculture. “Our museum is a fun experience, but we are also serious about emphasizing the subjects that kids learn about in school,” she said. “I enjoy talking to parents about what they can do at home to supplement or help with homework. I also very much enjoy teaching young people about Farm Bureau and Mississippi agriculture.” Kelsey very concisely sums it up this way: “The Mississippi Children’s Museum is a great resource and an education to both children and parents. It is interactive learning at its best.” The Mississippi Children’s Museum is located at 2145 Highland Drive just off Lakeland Drive near the Natural Science Museum. Admission is $8 per person, and the hours are TuesdaySaturday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, from 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Visiting the farm-raised catfish pond.



Ag in the Classroom

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Program targets all grades through available resources, and the curriculum program focuses on grades K-12.Volunteers working with the MFBF Women’s Program distribute AITC materials to schools across the state. Volunteers work to incorporate ag information into a wide variety of school courses and activities. Agriculture is not a separate subject that needs to be sandwiched into an already-crowded curriculum. Rather, it is a multidisciplinary field that can be used to teach core subjects such as science, mathematics, social studies, geography, economics, health and nutrition, history, language arts, and visual arts. The Ag in the Classroom Program can aid teachers who are looking for new methods, materials and activities to improve their classroom instruction or to make existing courses more interesting. This program provides an exciting new set of experiences for students. For more information, contact Women’s Program/AITC Coordinator Clara Bilbo at 1-800-2278244, ext. 4245.




Fulmer’s General Store:

By Glynda Phillips

Step Back in Time


visit to Fulmer’s General Store in New Augusta is like stepping back to a simpler time when a country store served as the hub of a rural community, providing the necessities of farm life and a place where folks could visit, catch up on news, and even post their mail. Although Fulmer’s doesn’t offer a post office, you can purchase groceries, farm supplies and equipment, or browse through handmade Amish crafts, or simply visit neighbors over a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. If you time it just right, you can even have lunch. After lunch, you can sit out on the porch and watch the chickens scatter across the yard, or you can wander the grounds of this 40-acre working farm nestled beneath the shaded, spacious branches of a 30-acre pecan orchard. 12

A Simpler Lifestyle Fulmer’s General Store is the realization of a dream for Ken and Jeanette Fulmer and son Carey. Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, the store reflects the family’s strong traditional values and offers a quiet respite. “People today are hungry for a simpler way of life,” Jeanette said. “They also want to be self-sufficient, especially with the economy the way it is right now. There is a movement in this country to buy food in bulk, to home school children, and to purchase from farmers markets.” Fulmer’s General Store carries hard-to-find items that can be purchased in bulk, including homemade granola, natural, preservative-free grains and flours, pickled eggs, dried fruits and vegetables, beans, jellies, honey, and canned goods. You will find fresh Country Girls Creamery dairy products, red rind cheese, homemade butter, old-timey pots and pans, handmade crafts, and vine-ripened vegetables grown naturally right on the farm. Pecans are, quite naturally, also sold here. The store carries horse-drawn equipment like plows, rakes and buggies, because the Fulmers are Pioneer Equipment, Inc. dealers. The Fulmers and their employees bake pies, cookies, cakes, breads and cinnamon rolls six days a week, and their loyal customers gobble them up. The store also serves soups, salads, sandwiches and hot lunches Monday through Saturday. The tomato pie is a top-seller. The homemade chicken salad is also a favorite, especially when served with fresh-baked bread Out on the grounds, antique log houses and a corn crib sit beneath the branches of the pecan trees. The Fulmers dismantled and moved the buildings from other locations to lovingly reassemble them here. The houses are furnished with old-timey items like a wood stove, a loom, a wringer washer, a butter churn, a hooked rug, and an iron bed.



An herb garden is nestled nearby. Elsewhere on the farm, you will find farmers hard at work, using big draft horses to pull equipment. On the day of my visit, Carey, a Mississippi State University graduate, demonstrated how hay is raked using draft horses and a rake. He also took me on a tour of the 6-acre vegetable garden that is his pride and joy. The vegetables are sold in the store and also at farmers markets in Hattiesburg and Laurel. The farm also boasts dairy goats and one small Jersey cow.

Festival, Field Days The Fulmers hold canning classes two nights a month. In addition, each year during the last week in September, they host a popular 3-day Pecan Festival, where visitors can enjoy oldtime music, craft-making demonstrations, arts and crafts booths, food, and just plain fun. The farm also regularly hosts field days for school children,


where kids can observe farmers milking cows, making soap, digging potatoes, and picking fresh broccoli and cabbage. Kids can also look at the farm animals and ride in a horse-drawn buggy. “The children just love it,” Jeanette said. “They run around and have fun, and when they board the bus, they fall asleep in 30 seconds they are so exhausted.” Want to Visit? To visit Fulmer’s General Store, simply take 98 East off I-59 South out of Hattiesburg. When you reach New Augusta, stay on 98 East and look for the huge Fulmer’s General Store sign on the left side of the highway. Turn left and go about five miles out into the country. The store is on the left. You may call Jeanette at 601-964-8222, or you may visit the Fulmer’s General Store Facebook page.



High Tunnel


By Glynda Phillips

illiam Tucker can sure grow delicious tomatoes … and peas, beans, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, bell peppers, onions, potatoes and, well, you name it. In the fall, he also grows mustard and turnip greens. This longtime Lee County Farm Bureau member is well known in his area of the state for quality produce. As a certified Master Gardener, he has worked closely with Extension experts and attended numerous vegetable shows through the years to ensure that he is doing all he can do to grow the very best produce possible. Last October, he installed a 30-foot by 72-foot high tunnel greenhouse. He says he is well pleased with the decision. Here is why.

rigation, so they are kept well-hydrated when the weather turns dry and hot. In the cooler months, farmers can raise the plastic sides of the high tunnel during the day for ventilation then lower them in the afternoon to retain solar heat at night. The plastic covering on the high tunnel serves to protect plants from high winds, too much sun, cold snaps, and too much rain. The plastic can also help reduce insect pressure and diseases. Researchers are studying how the climate of a high tunnel interacts with insects and diseases in the South. The high tunnel is wide enough and high enough to drive a tractor or other piece of equipment through.

High Tunnel

See For Yourself

The high tunnel can benefit large farmers, but it is the smallacreage farmer, the one who sells directly to market, who stands to reap the most from this unique piece of farming equipment. The high tunnel is an arched metal structure covered in plastic that is placed over plants that are grown in the ground. It is designed to help farmers control the environment and extend the number of weeks crops can be grown in the fall and spring. Here’s how it works: High tunnel crops are grown through plastic mulch using drip ir-


Benefits Produce Farmer

I had heard that Tucker’s tomatoes were doing well under his high tunnel so I visited his farm near Shannon on a recent hot, dry June morning. The tomatoes inside the high tunnel were tall, strong and healthy. They were producing lots of rich, red fruit. The tomato plants outside the high tunnel looked good but not as good as the sheltered plants. Likewise, his cut flowers (zinnias and sunflowers) and his squash, cucumbers and bell peppers were producing very well inside the structure. “I am averaging about 300 to 400 pounds of tomatoes per week



this season in my high tunnel,” said Tucker, who also grows three acres of vegetables outside the greenhouse. During my visit, Tucker’s cell phone rang constantly. Customers were calling to find out when they could come by and purchase homegrown vegetables, especially tomatoes. Tucker’s wife Patty and their younger daughter Emily help him harvest the produce and sell it on the farm and at the Tupelo Farmers Market, where Tucker has sold his vegetables every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the past 10 years. His three grandchildren help out, too, when they visit. Grandson William Tucker (Will), 10, and granddaughters Amber, 12, and Kayla, 8, are the children of Tucker’s oldest daughter Camille Scales Young and her husband Keith. Camille worked in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Public Policy Department for many years.

grow fewer plants next season in order to free up even more space. “The high tunnel is great for small vegetable farmers,” he said in conclusion. “It really helps. And farmers markets are a wonderful place for us to sell our produce and for consumers to buy highquality vegetables at a reasonable price.” With the high tunnel, Tucker hopes his family and customers will have tomatoes for Thanksgiving and even Christmas. “That would be nice,” he said with a smile. You may call William Tucker at 662-322-4124.

Tucker applied for his high tunnel through a USDA-NRCS pilot program. USDA paid a percentage of the cost of the structure, and Tucker paid the rest. He was also responsible for getting someone to install it. After it was built, USDA experts came out to inspect it to make sure that it had been constructed properly.

Future Plans

Tucker comes out early in the morning and late in the evening to tend to his vegetables and flowers. “I just love this,” he said. “And I enjoy seeing people’s faces when they purchase my vegetables. The best part is when they come back and compliment me. It is so satisfying.” As far as future plans are concerned, Tucker says he will experiment with early tomato varieties next season. In addition, he won’t grow cucumbers and squash in the high tunnel because he wants to free up some room. This season, he grew five rows of tomatoes with 38 to 48 plants per row. He says he will probably




Growing By Glynda Phillips



ourds are an easy plant to grow, and the fruit can be crafted into decorative and useful items. Gourd grower extraordinaire Paul Grubbs of Rankin County says he’s not very good at crafting gourds, but he sure does enjoy growing them. “I like nothing better than to come down here to the farm after work and walk my eight to nine acres of gourds and just look at them,” said the longtime Rankin County Farm Bureau member. “After I’m finished, I do my chores, and when I’m ready to go home, I look at the gourds again.” Grubbs grows 12 varieties of gourds. Some of them include Luffas, Kettles, Clubs, Marankas, Tobacco Boxes, African Warties, Bottlenecks, Martins and Bushel Baskets. His most popular gourd is the Martin gourd. He’s tried growing smaller gourds like the Egg Gourd, but he says he doesn’t enjoy them as much. You must also grow and sell more of the smaller gourds to make any money. Grubbs sells his large unfinished gourds for $2 to $7 each, which he says is about half what you would expect to pay in the more popular gourd-growing states. He says California is the largest producer of gourds and yields some really big ones. One of the biggest gourds Grubbs has ever seen was 36 inches in circumference and was a Bushel Basket gourd grown in Prentiss.

Growing Gourds If you’d like to try growing gourds, Grubbs says to plant them just as soon after the last frost as you feel comfortable and sow about four seeds per hill. He says gourd seeds have a very high germination rate. When the plants come up, eliminate all but the strongest two per hill, and they will produce well. In a good year, Grubbs can get 12 to 15 gourds per plant. It takes about 120 days from the time the gourds come up until the fruit matures. “You plant them like watermelon,” he said. “They are in the squash family, and there are some varieties you can eat, but they have to be really young and tender. Most gourds are only suitable for making things like birdhouses, utensils, musical instruments and decoration.” Harvesting gourds is labor intensive since you must do so by hand, but gourds are easy to dry. You separate them according to variety and

let them dry on pallets. They need space around them so the air can get to them, and they dry better outdoors, but you can also dry them indoors if you’d like. Cleaning gourds requires work. You need a stainless steel scrubber, dishwashing soap, plenty of water, and lots of elbow grease.

Getting Started Grubbs says he began growing gourds seven or eight years ago. “My wife and I attended the Chimneyville Crafts Show in Jackson, and we ran across a gourd booth that belonged to Mike and Michelle Thompson. We stopped and talked to them, and that’s when I began to get really interested in this. The gourds that the Thompsons craft are really beautiful.” Another mentor has been Helen Looman of Yazoo City. Grubbs says her work with geometric designs made with woodburning tools approaches a true art form. Martha Ertle of Bentonia is also a mentor. Martha weaves intricate designs in gourds using waxed thread and a needle. Another mentor is Ken McPhail, who carves 3-dimensional oak trees in gourds using a dremel. Grubbs describes his work as incredible. Each year, Paul Grubbs hosts a gourd festival on his farm near Shivers. It is generally held the second Saturday in May. If you are interested in attending the festival or learning more about gourds, you are welcome to call Grubbs at 601-260-4230. Also, make plans to attend the Mississippi Gourd Festival in Raleigh on Sept. 17-18.




By Glynda Phillips


ourdcrafting is a hobby that Mike and Michelle Thompson of Thompson Farms in Raleigh say they “eased into” in 1998 after planting their first patch of martin gourds. They needed to find something to do with all of the gourds they had grown. The Thompsons sold some of the gourds to folks for birdhouses and crafting, but Michelle was interested in learning to paint and woodburn gourds. The woodburning aspect also piqued Mike’s interest. Michelle checked out a library book, “The Complete Book of Gourd Craft,” by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess, and the Thompsons were soon hooked. Mike’s first major project was cutting and woodburning a gourd basket similar to the one on the book’s cover. Michelle’s first gourdcrafting class was taught by Jana Manning and sponsored by the Smith County Extension Service in 1999. The Thompsons have since taken classes at the Alabama Gourd Show in Cullman, Alabama, the Gourd Artists Gathering in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the Gourd Gracious Festival in Collinsville, Mississippi. They have taught classes at the latter two events, at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland and in Raleigh. In the fall of 1999, Mike and Michelle participated in the Raleigh Heritage Festival, where they sold their homegrown pumpkins and gourds, some of which they had painted and woodburned. In 2001, they attended their first gourd show – the Alabama Gourd Show in Cullman. “It was fantastic,” Michelle said. “I took a class and learned how to coil pine needles onto the rim of a gourd. To begin, I picked out a tiny jigsaw to cut the top off my gourd to make a bowl. I fell in love with that little saw.” Michelle got Mike to come look at the saw and, afterwards, they began searching for one to buy. They found their first Craftsman MiniTool set at Sears in Jackson, and it included the mini jigsaw, a router and a sander. Mike’s favorite part of the crafting is cutting the gourds. He does the chip carving, and they both woodburn. Michelle loves to use the power carver. One of her favorite images for engraving is the dragonfly. She has incorporated her love of paper crafting into her gourdcrafting, and she decoupages handwritten, stamped and cut images to the interior or exterior of gourd bowls. Michelle also enjoys making unique jewelry from gourds and pieces of gourds. “Gourds are versatile and exhibit many of the qualities found in wood,” Mike said. “We enjoy making functional and decorative items from them,

such as dippers, birdhouses, baskets, jewelry and bowls.” The Thompsons use transparent stains, dyes and inks on the exterior of gourds. They especially like the rich colors produced by leather dyes. “Many people comment on the natural appearance of our gourds. You can still see the gourd – it is not overdone,” Michelle said. “The transformation from a plain ol’ dirty gourd to a beautifully handcrafted gourd is not an easy one. Part of the transformation is a chore and part is fun – just like life!”

A notable accomplishment for Michelle was carving the Secretary of State seal onto a gourd for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. The work turned out great and is on display in his office.

In October of 2002, Julia Daily, who at the time was market manager of the Greater Belhaven Market and who is currently the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, invited the Thompsons to participate in the Belhaven Market. “We met so many nice people and enjoyed going,” Michelle said. “We became like a big family. Julia encouraged us in our gourd crafting and to apply for the guild.” Rankin County woodcarver and guild member, George Berry of Pearl, put a guild application in their hands and told them to get busy. “After nudges and encouragement from so many people throughout the years, we finally decided to ‘get busy’ and apply,” said Michelle. After a short wait, the Thompsons were accepted as exhibiting members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. They are also members of the American Gourd Society and the Mississippi Gourd Society. Mike and Michelle were instrumental in organizing the first annual Mississippi Gourd Festival, sponsored by the Mississippi Gourd Society and held at the Smith County Ag Complex in Raleigh last September. “Last year, 500 to 600 people attended, and

we had 15 classes that were filled with about 100 students,” Mike said. “We are looking for an even bigger crowd this year because we got really good feedback about last year’s festival.” The second annual Mississippi Gourd Festival is scheduled for Sept. 17-18 at the same location, with early-bird classes on Friday, Sept. 16. It’s indoors with air conditioning. Admission is $2 and free for children 12 and under. Mike is the vendor chair and Michelle is the show chair. Currently, 15 gourdcrafting classes are offered. Check out the Facebook page for the Mississippi Gourd Society and visit these Web sites for more festival information: and http://gourdgracious. Growing and crafting gourds has become a full-time business for Mike and Michelle Thompson. They sell their work primarily at arts and crafts shows within the state and at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland. You may phone them at 601-782-9444 or 601-3740245 or email them at The Thompsons are members of the Smith County Farm Bureau.


At a statewide meeting on June 21, new agreements were introduced and explained to a very large crowd of about 450 people, all 82 counties being represented. Sparkman Auditorium at the Ag Museum was filled to capacity. For more than a year, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) has held meetings of a committee to make recommendations for modernized versions of the county Service Agreement between the county Farm Bureaus and Farm Bureau insurance companies and the Uniform Cooperative Agreement between MFBF and the county Farm Bureaus. This lat-

Farm Bureau Looks Ahead By Sam E. Scott, MFBF General Counsel the MFBF Board of Directors and the boards of directors of the Farm Bureau life, casualty and property insurance companies. They were previewed at a November 2010 video conference, but the attendance at the statewide meeting far exceeded the preview. Under the leadership of MFBF President

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Randy Knight addresses the large crowd gathered at the Ag Museum in Jackson.

ter agreement had not been substantially changed in over 30 years. This committee was made up of people representing every aspect of Farm Bureau operations. After much hard work and debate, the committee unanimously recommended the adoption of two new agreements: the County Services and Facilities Agreement and the Uniform Membership and Cooperative Agreement. While new, both of these agreements maintain the basic relationships and the cooperative nature of MFBF, county Farm Bureaus, and the several Farm Bureau insurance companies operating from the offices of county Farm Bureaus. Another important purpose of these agreements was to protect and preserve the Farm Bureau’s tax-exempt status. These agreements had been approved by


Randy Knight, much planning was done to give county Farm Bureaus extensive information about these new agreements, and a set of suggested guidelines was offered to assist in the implementation of the County Services and Facilities Agreement. A panel consisting of persons from every aspect of Farm Bureau operations presented the program. Panelists included Randy Knight, Sam Scott, Bert Tingle, Jack Williams, Mike Bridwell, Michael Aguzzi, Tom McAlpin, and Tomer Inbar, an attorney from New York who specializes in nonprofit and tax exemption for a wide range of clients. Both agreements were explained from all points of view in two sessions that were divided by a hearty meal. Also, the suggested guidelines were presented and discussed in the afternoon


session. The floor was opened for questions, and a range of topics was discussed and all questions were answered. Presentations also included how to avoid IRS audits and how to respond to one. The valuable relationship between county Farm Bureaus and agency managers and agents was clarified and, hopefully, simplified. The entire meeting was on a very positive note and allowed for a healthy dialogue, as well as visiting with other Farm Bureau friends. Emphasis was placed on the continued, improved and documented promotion of agriculture, which is what allows us to be tax-exempt. Additional ways to do this are being studied and programs will be announced throughout this year. A special guest was Ms. Ellen Steen, the American Farm Bureau General Counsel who has family and property in Mississippi. In her remarks, she emphasized not only a statewide but also national importance of the subjects presented and noted that Mississippi was in the forefront in these matters. President Knight closed the meeting and also reminded everyone of the importance of getting Initiative No. 31 for eminent domain reform passed at the Nov. 8, 2011, general election. As General Counsel, I believe that these new agreements are vital to the continued success of Farm Bureau in Mississippi and are important to preserve our tax-exempt status. I trust they will be timely implemented by county Farm Bureau boards of directors. The Federation and insurance companies are ready to sign them and move forward. The agreements also remind us that our century-old roots and heritage are the promotion of agriculture and rural life, which is perhaps more important today than ever before. We are looking forward and moving ahead.

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 MFBF’s position or opinion.


2011 Annual Meetings Adams County Farm Bureau Thursday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. Farm Bureau Office Natchez Alcorn County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m. County Extension Office Behind the Crossroads Arena Corinth Meal will be provided. Bring your favorite dessert. Amite County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6:30 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Liberty Attala County Farm Bureau Thursday, Nov. 10, at 5:30 p.m. County Extension Office Kosciusko The traditional stew will be served.

Forrest County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. MSU Extension Office 952 Sullivan Road Hattiesburg George County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Lucedale Hancock County Farm Bureau Saturday, Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Kiln Harrison County Farm Bureau Saturday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. BelAire Elementary School Cafeteria Klein Rd Gulfport Hinds County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 26, at 1 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Raymond

Chickasaw County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Houston

Itawamba County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m. Jamie Whitten Center, Fulton All members are asked to bring a covered dish.

Choctaw County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. Choctaw County Community Center Ackerman

Jackson County Farm Bureau Saturday, Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. East Central Community Center Highway 614 Hurley

Claiborne County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Port Gibson Clarke County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m. Multipurpose Building Quitman RSVP at 601-776-6977 Clay County Farm Bureau Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office West Point Copiah County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Hazlehurst Covington County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. Collins Multipurpose Building


Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Prentiss Jones County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Laurel Kemper County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. County Farmers Market Building DeKalb Lamar County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. Okahola School Road Voting Precinct Purvis Lauderdale County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Meridian

Lawrence County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 8 a.m. Farm Bureau Office Monticello Leflore County Farm Bureau Thursday, Nov. 3, at 6:30 p.m. Crystal Grill Greenwood Lincoln County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Brookhaven Madison County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 12, at 10 a.m. Farm Bureau Office Canton Marion County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. Columbia Exposition Center 150 Industrial Park Road Columbia Monroe County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Aberdeen Montgomery County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Winona Neshoba County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. Neshoba County Coliseum Philadelphia Newton County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. Coastal Plain Experiment Station 51 Coastal Plain Road Newton Noxubee County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. Noxubee County Civic Center Macon Panola County Farm Bureau Monday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Panola County Extension Bldg. RSVP by Sept. 9 @662-563-5688 Meal: $5 per adult & $3 per child Batesville Pearl River County Farm Bureau Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m. First Baptist Church Life Center 203 South Main Street Poplarville


Pontotoc County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Pontotoc Community House Please bring a covered dish. Meat, bread and drinks provided. Quitman County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Marks Community House Marks Rankin County Farm Bureau Monday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Refreshments will be served. Brandon Scott County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. Roosevelt State Park, Alfredo Lodge Tickets are $4 and must be purchased by Monday, Aug. 29. Morton Simpson County Farm Bureau Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m. County Jr. Livestock Barn Mendenhall Smith County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. Smith County Ag Complex Raleigh Tallahatchie County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Charleston Tippah County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. Tippah County Fairgrounds Ripley Tishomingo County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. Tishomingo County High School Cafeteria Iuka Wayne County Farm Bureau Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6:30 p.m. Farm Bureau Office Waynesboro Winston County Farm Bureau Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. Winston County Shrine Club 3305 Highway 15 South Louisville Yazoo County Farm Bureau Thursday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. Farm Bureau Office Yazoo City 21


Solve the


Mystery 22

hich Northeast Mississippi town, located in the beautiful Appalachian foothills, takes its name from the Chickasaw leader who signed the Treaty of Pontotoc in the early 1830s? A neighboring town, Iuka, was named for the chief’s son. Read the clues and make your guess. This town grew up along the Illinois Central Railroad and was formally established as a village in 1908. Through the years, it became known for its springs, which were thought to have healing powers. Andrew Jackson stopped by the area to camp on his way to fight the Battle of New Orleans. He drank from “Good Springs,” which, thereafter, became known as “Jackson Springs.” The water is used by the town today. This town boasts 250 residents. Many are descendants of the original settlers, but quite a few are newcomers. Mayor James Fairless Tennyson says the town appeals to young families. “Our town is a good place to raise children. More and more people want to raise their kids in a small-town atmosphere, so young families are moving here,” he said. Mayor Tennyson says he wants a “clean, pro-business, friendly environment where everybody is treated equal.” Our mystery town offers one school – kindergarten through eighth grade – that is located on the grounds of the historic Tishomingo Agricultural High School.



The town also boasts lots of churches, parks and athletic fields. Our mystery town has thriving businesses, a library, a medical clinic, and a pharmacy. A mercantile shop bearing the town’s name sells handmade bath soap named for the town plus Larry Monteith woodwork, Southern Candle Company candles, and Wilderness pottery. Our mystery town has access to abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, including Tishomingo State Park, the Natchez Trace Parkway, Bay Springs Lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee River, and Coleman State Park. Crow’s Neck Environmental Center, which focuses on the beautiful flora of the area, is located west of town. Woodall Mountain, the highest elevation in Mississippi at 806 feet, can be found between this town and Iuka. Our mystery town holds a Townwide Yard Sale on the first Saturday in May and October; an annual Motorcycle Show and 100-Mile Ride on the first Saturday in June; and an annual Street Dance on the Saturday before July 4th. The Community Thanksgiving Service and annual Christmas Pa-


rade are well-attended. A 1916 jazz standard by Spencer Williams bears the name of this town. Our mystery town boasts a stone quarry that is owned and operated by Bobbie and Clemmie Gresham. Gresham Stone not only mines the beautiful stone that is famous in the area, but Bobbie makes items from it that go all over the Southeast. He crafts birdbaths, benches, obelisks, turtles, frogs and small crosses, to name a few. He also does woodwork. “The quarry is a lot of hard work, but I enjoy meeting lots of interesting people,” he said. For more information, call 662-4387418. Farming in this area consists mainly of row crops and timber. Historic homes that preserve the architecture of a bygone day are numerous and can be found throughout the town. This town was winner of the 2009 Mississippi Municipalities League Award: City Spirit for Cities under 10,000. Name the town. A special thanks to Region 2 Women’s Chair Kay Perkins, Pam Bates, and Megan and Morgan Perkins (see group photo above with Bobbie Gresham at the stone quarry).


Correct Guesses

Mail guesses to Solve the Mystery, Mississippi Farm Country, P.O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215. You may also e-mail your guesses to: Please remember to include your name and address on the entry. Visit our Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Web site at: When all correct guesses have been received, we will randomly draw 20 names. These 20 names will receive a prize and will be placed in the hat twice. At the end of the year, a winner will be drawn from all correct submissions. The winner will receive a Weekend Bed and Breakfast Trip, courtesy of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. Families may submit only one entry. Federation staff members and their families are ineligible to participate in this contest. The deadline for submitting your entry is Sept. 30.


The correct answer for the July/August Solve the Mystery is Moorhead.



New Member Benefits Programs By Greg Gibson MFBF Member Services Director

This is always a busy but exciting time of year. The weather should be cooling off shortly (we hope!), the kids are back in school, and harvest season is right around the corner. But there is another reason for Farm Bureau members to be excited. We have recently added two new programs to our list of Member Benefits that can save you money. First, we have a new prescription drug discount program administered through the American Farm Bureau Federation. This new prescription drug card is available to all Farm Bureau members but is especially helpful for those with no prescription drug coverage or insurance. If you do have prescription drug insurance, it can still be used on any prescription medication not covered by your drug plan. The Farm Bureau prescription drug card can be used to get discounts of up to 75 percent on most brand-name and generic medications, with average savings around 30 percent. It is accepted at over 56,000 pharmacies nationwide and is ready to use immediately. Because you are a Farm Bureau member, this card is available to you at NO COST! There are no forms to fill out. Simply take your card to a participating pharmacy (listed on the back) with your Rx to qualify for discounts on medications. Each family member must have his/her own card. They come pre-activated for immediate use. Stop by your county Farm Bureau office and pick up this money-saving card.

Clay Foster to Serve as MFBF Field Auditor

Clay Foster of Brandon has been hired as a Field Auditor for the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF). He will be working in the MFBF Accounting and Building Department with Bert Tingle and Karen Easterling to provide accounting and tax services to the counties. Clay is a graduate of Mississippi State with a degree in AcClay Foster counting and Mississippi College with a degree in Business Administration. “Clay is a very well-qualified individual, who will be an asset not only to our department but to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation as a whole. We are pleased to have him working with our Farm Bureau members,” said Billy Davis, Director of the MFBF Accounting and Building Department/ MFBF Chief Financial Officer. “Please join me in welcoming Clay into our Farm Bureau family.” 24

Our second new program is with Clear Value Hearing, which is offering a great plan to those who need hearing aids. Under this program, Farm Bureau members can receive the following:

• A free initial hearing test and annual retests • Free hearing aid adjustments • Free bi-annual hearing aid maintenance • One courtesy case of batteries • A statewide network of Professional Audiologists and Specialists • Up to 25 percent actual Member Discount on all Starkey Hearing Instruments • Special Member Discounts on all Westone Custom Ear Protection Clear Value offers significant savings & services that are typically not covered by Medicare and most insurance. To locate a provider in your area, log on to, or call 888-497-7447. Your membership in Farm Bureau costs you a few dollars each year, but that membership fee allows you to participate in these and many other Member Benefits programs that can save you hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars. For more information on all of the Farm Bureau Member Benefits programs, visit our Web site at and click on the Member Benefits link. Or you can call Farm Bureau’s Member Benefits Coordinator Dedra Luke at 601-977-4169.

Johnson to Coordinate YF&R and Social Media Programs

Kirsten Johnson has been and retaining volunteers. hired as the Mississippi Farm She was also responsible Bureau Federation Young for the promotion of the Farmers and Ranchers/Social parish 4-H program Media Coordinator. through press releases and Kirsten holds a bachelor’s social media outlets like degree in Animal Science Facebook and Twitter. from the University of Wis“Several well-qualified consin and completed nine candidates were considered hours of graduate-level for this position, but all the coursework in Human Reway through the process, source Education at Kirsten Johnson Kirsten remained at the top Louisiana State University. Her most of the list,” said Mississippi Farm Burecent work history includes Assistant reau Federation President Randy County Agent/4-H Youth Development, Knight. “We believe she will be an asWest Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Kirsten has experience as a success- set to our Young Farmers and Ranchers ful grant writer and has been account- Program and to the entire Mississippi able for the oversight and coordination Farm Bureau Federation staff. I know of various programs, including organ- you will join me in welcoming her into izing workshops and recruiting, training our Farm Bureau family.” MISSISSIPPI FARM COUNTRY


Patton, Thomas, Welford Join Sales Management Team

Barry Patton has been named District Sales Manager in District III, upon the retirement of Hubert Hatfield, effective June 1, 2011. Barry is a graduate of Mississippi State University, and is a former Farm Bureau agent. Barry and his wife Barry Patton Amanda have two boys, Reed, age 10, and Riley, age 7. They attend First Baptist Church of Kosciusko. John Thomas has been named District Sales Manager for District IV. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and is a former agency manager. John and his wife Karen have a son, Britt (wife Sarah); a daughter, Jennie; and two grandsons, Parker and Harrison. John and Karen reside in Brookhaven and attend Faith Presbyterian Church. Jason Welford has been named District Sales Manager in District I, upon the retirement

Calender of Events Sept. 16 Rice Luncheon Delta State University Cleveland

John Thomas

Jason Welford

of Jerrell Dearman, effective July 1, 2011. Jason is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and is a former agency manager. Jason and his wife Kisha have two children, Emma Kate, age 6, and Kade Garrison, age 3. “Please join me in welcoming Barry, John and Jason as members of our Mississippi Sales Management Team,” said Henry Hamill, Sales Manager for Mississippi/Vice President of Sales. “These men bring a wealth of field experience to our staff, and we are excited to have them.”

Oct. 5-16 Mississippi State Fair Nov. 3 State Resolutions Meeting MFBF Building Jackson Nov. 8 General Election Nov. 21-25 National Farm-City Week Dec. 3-5 MFBF Annual Meeting Hilton Hotel Jackson Jan. 8-11 AFBF Annual Meeting Honolulu, Hawaii Jan. 23 Winter Commodity Conference MFBF Building Jackson Jan. 24 Winter Commodity Conference MFBF Building Jackson






Rural South of the

By Glynda Phillips





ississippi artist Dot Courson of Pontotoc paints memories … of farm life and the rural South, rivers and streams, gardens and woods, fields and barns.

“People want a memory presented in a modern way,” she said. “They want to feel they have been there. They want a sense of place, and they want the painting to look real but not antiquated. They want to be able to look at a painting and say to themselves, ‘That reminds me’ or ‘I know where that is.’ ” Courson grew up on farms in Alcorn and Calhoun counties and regularly visited relatives in the Delta. She knows how snowy cotton looks bursting from a boll on a cool autumn afternoon or how river water feels to bare feet on a hot summer day. She understands how light and shadow play upon a winding country road and how clothes can billow out from a line on a breezy spring morning. “When my husband and I started dating, he was surprised to discover that I actually knew how to can vegetables,” she said with a smile. “But that’s my background. I know all of that.” Courson uses oils and a limited color pallet. She says she knew from grade school (because she was told by college art professors who judged a school contest) that she was a natural impressionist. “I love landscapes better than anything. And anything I paint in the Delta is a favorite because that’s where I have many childhood memories,” she said. “A lot of my scenes are rural pastoral landscapes. And a lot of my scenes have a looser, more impressionistic feel. Some of them look better from a distance. You can see how all of the individual strokes of the brush come together to form the whole.” It would seem to someone who is not an artist that painting detailed scenery requires much time and patience in addition to a whole lot of skill. But Courson says when you love what you are doing that never crosses your mind. “If you have the desire to do this, it just brings you joy,” she said. “This is what I have always wanted to do all of my life, but I never had the time to do it full-time until now.” Courson’s career was in nursing. She possesses a master’s degree


in Nursing/Health Care Administration, and she practiced as a registered nurse. She also taught nursing and worked for a time as a nurse administrator. She and Jackie raised three children and have eight grandchildren. For many years, Dot balanced her career with her family and painted part-time. Along the way, she took college art courses and studied with renowned artists across the U.S., including the late Billy Kirk, a noted and respected Mississippi artist whom she considers her true mentor. She had an opportunity to meet and visit with American realist landscape artist Andrew Wyeth, a memory she treasures. Now that Jackie is retired and free to accompany her, and now that her kids are grown, Courson spends her days painting, traveling, and attending art shows and workshops. She also teaches art on a limited basis and holds her own workshops two or three times a year. She says her goal is to become a successful full-time artist, and she approaches it as a business by getting out and marketing her work. She wants to make art – and not some other field of endeavor – her career. “I can’t believe how blessed I am,” she said with a smile. “When you are doing what you love, then no matter whether you are wealthy or poor, you are rich. “I always tell people that I am rich.”

Southern Breeze Gallery in Madison represents Dot Courson’s work and will feature her work in a special show in October. She is also represented by Caron Gallery and Staggs Interiors, both in Tupelo. Dot was recently made a “Signature” member of the Women Painters of the Southeast (one of three), and she also serves on the board of directors. This group is made up of some of the Southeast's most noted women artists. She is a juried member of the Oil Painters of America, Landscape Artists International, Mississippi Painter’s Society, Mississippi Oil Painters Association, Women Painters of the Southeast and American Impressionists Society. She has won numerous awards and is listed on the Mississippi Writers, Musicians and Artists official Web site for “having contributed to the literary and cultural heritage of Mississippi.” She and Jackie are longtime members of Pontotoc County Farm Bureau.




questrian Event Benefits

By Glynda Phillips


Few things in life are as graceful as an equestrian event.

In early March, I spent time watching the 13th Annual Gulf Coast Winter Classic at the Harrison County Fairgrounds near Gulfport and enjoyed every minute of it. The six-week hunter-jumper event showcases some the finest equine athletes in America, Canada and Mexico. Some 1,268 horses competed this year. The Gulf Coast Winter Classic boasts a total prize money purse of $800,000 and benefits Harrison County’s economy by approximately $40-45 million annually. Last year, the event was awarded the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Winter Event 2010.

“ ” We have people competing for national points and prize money

“We have people competing for national points and prize money,” said Janet McCarroll, coordinator of the event. “We are a top-ranking AA-rated U.S. Equestrian Federation Horse Show. “When our competitors are finished here, they go home and compete, or they go on to compete in a twoweek circuit in Houston and a two-week circuit in Atlanta.” The Gulf Coast Winter Classic, which does little formal advertising, has grown primarily through word of mouth. “We try to run a good professional series,” McCarroll said. “Plus, we have great support from our supervisors and local business owners who see that this benefits the economy.” The Gulf Coast Winter Classic offers three allweather rings and a covered arena with bleachers. McCarroll says it also boasts one of the best grass Grand


Prix fields in North America. As far as future plans go, Harrison County Fairgrounds plans to build four new barns using the interest generated by a $1 million bond. The horse show will pay to use the barn facilities during its six-week stint, and the fairgrounds will rent the barns out at other times of the year. Additional future plans also include expanding the RV Park. For more information about the Gulf Coast Winter Classic, phone/FAX: (843) 768-5503, or email This event is a part of Classic Company, Ltd., Bob Bell, president. The Harrison County Tourism Commission recently selected McCarroll as the 2010 recipient of the “Billy Creel” Excellence in Tourism Award.



Gary Langley Memorial Fundraiser The Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) State Committee recently hosted a Sporting Clay Shoot as the Gary Langley Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser. The event was held at Luckett Lodge in Brandon on June 25 and was a huge success. Through participation, sponsorships and donations, the committee will return $3,199.97 to the scholarship fund. This was the first attempt at hosting a sporting clay event, and the committee gained valuable experience that will make next year’s fundraiser an even bigger success. Shooters participated in 4-man teams, with prizes awarded to the top three teams and a prize awarded to the high-scoring individual shooter. First place in the Team Event went to Team Waverly, which included Frank Chenevert, Colby Mason, Scott Rives and Spencer Palmer. Second Place went to Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance, which included Jonathan Hopper, Jerry Stephens, Ben Treloar and Ricky Hopper. Third place winners were Team Huerkamp, which included Joe Huerkamp, Tyler Huerkamp, Mackey Watkins and Seth Moore. The High-Scoring Individual was Frank Chenevert. We want to thank everyone involved in the success of this event. All of the sponsors, participants, Farm Bureau staff and the staff at Luckett Lodge are to be commended for your efforts and dedication to the Young Farmers and Ranchers program. Without your help, none of this would have been possible. I would personally like to thank the YF&R State Committee for your leadership, dedication and, most importantly, your attitudes. The committee’s willingness to give of their time and efforts assures us that we have strong Farm Bureau volunteer leaders and a bright future as an agricultural or-

YF&R Clay Shoot Station Sponsorship Southern Security Services David and Sandra Waide Southern Farm Bureau Adams County Farm Bureau Deviney Equipment Rental Gant Farms Ted and Libby Kendall McClemore Farms Randy Knight/Knight Farms Helena Chemical Company, Leland Watson Quality Ford Jimmy Sanders, Inc. Helena Chemical Company, Yazoo City BASF

YF&R Clay Shoot Door Prizes Grainger Boots and More Penn’s Restaurant TSC, Inc. Farm Bureau Safety Department Merlene Partridge Greg Gibson/Farm Families Surplus City USA Catering by George Walkers Specialty Seed Noel Daniels Jason’s Deli Deviney Equipment Cabot Lodge Hilton Hotel Newk’s Broad Street Bravo! Sal & Mookies MugShots Grill Biaggi’s Sutherlands Academy Sports Chick-fil-a Sweet Potato Sweets Henry Hamill/Sales Department

ganization. 30



Farm Families of Mississippi The 2011 Farm Families of Mississippi campaign has wound down, and what a tremendous success it has been, thanks to the many organizations and businesses that supported this effort with their donations of money, services and time. Survey results re-

flect that this year’s campaign was just as effective in positively influencing consumers’ attitudes toward agriculture as last year’s effort. The 2011 campaign was continued in the Jackson metro area and began efforts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Discussions are underway concerning a potential media buy into the Memphis media market for 2012. Planning for next year’s campaign is underway. Stay tuned.

Summer Intern

Kalyn Wright of Vardaman served a sixweek internship this summer with the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, spending time with each program and learning all about the organization. Kalyn will be a senior this fall, majoring in Public Relations at Mississippi State University. Her minor is in Agribusiness. Students interested in the summer internship program should visit to download an application and instructions for applying.

Mississippi Peanut Festival Mitchell Farms of Collins announces that the first annual Mississippi Peanut Festival will be held Oct. 1, the opening day of the Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch and Maze, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy arts, crafts, antiques, a car show, live entertainment, yard art, collectibles, etc. All vendors are welcome. Call Jo Lynn Mitchell at 601-606-0762 to reserve booth space.




Farm Bureau Events

The 10th Annual Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Ag in the Classroom Workshops were held in June in Grenada, Collins and Jackson. Participants learned about state commodities through informative speakers, colorful exhibits and educational hands-on activities. Pictured are scenes from the Jackson workshop.

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors held their June meeting on the campus of Mississippi State University. Afterwards, officers, directors and spouses toured campus facilities. Pictured is the newly-renovated Lloyd-Ricks-Watson Building. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation donated funds for the 30-station computer lab located in the building’s basement.



The 2011 summer commodity meetings enjoyed informative speakers, great attendance and an active participation in the policy development process. Pictured is a scene from the cotton meeting in Grenada.


Farm Bureau Events Mississippi State Equine Association (MSEA) officials have worked hard to create the Mississippi State Equine Association Endowed Scholarship to encourage beneficial equine practices. Based in Mississippi State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the leadership and academic recognition award will assist animal science majors who are pursuing pre-veterinary studies. The organization’s endowment contribution recently was presented in honor of Terry E. Kiser, retiring head of the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department. Pictured, from left, are James Watts, MSEA Executive Director; Kiser; James Rasberry, MSEA President; and Jud Skelton, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Development Director.

Members of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee participated in a Media Training Workshop at the MFBF Building in Jackson recently. Speakers and hands-on sessions helped farmers learn how to engage with the media, answer interview requests, prepare to “tell their story,” and become a unified and effective voice for agriculture. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

Patsy Prewitt of Washington County, pictured seated at front, received the 2011 Teacher Grant Award and received an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom (NAITC) Conference (AITC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She teaches at Weston Ninth Grade Academy in Greenville, working with the Special Education program. Pictured with her at the NAITC Conference are Region 7 Women’s Chair Carolyn Turner, Region 4 Women’s Chair Jody Bailey, Region 5 Women’s Chair Betty Edwards, and State Women’s Committee Vice Chair Shelby Williams.



FLEET VEHICLES FOR SALE If you are interested in a used federation vehicle, please visit our Web site at 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.




As a Farm Bureau member, you have access to many programs and benefits. To learn more, visit our Web site at Or see the Member Benefits information on pages 2 and 24.




September/October 2011