Gipson addresses economic leaders, shares solutions for Mississippi’s future

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson provided a detailed address to state economic leaders Oct. 26 at the Mississippi Hobnob organized by the Mississippi Economic Council. Gipson delineated the achievements and hurdles of the agriculture and commerce sectors, offering seven practical solutions for Mississippi’s future.

“I and our team at MDAC believe in getting things done; we have a proven record of doing just that,” said Gipson.

He outlined key successes of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) during his tenure, including the merger of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds and Mississippi Farmers Market into a single agency that resulted in more efficient operations and saved taxpayer dollars.

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Other highlights included tripling the processing capacity for beef and pork due to the construction and expansion of local meat processing facilities, and extending access to local foods via the Genuine MS® program and the growth of farmers markets across nearly every county in the state.

Amid these accomplishments, Gipson didn’t shy away from addressing the current nationwide challenges like the economic downturn, supply chain disruptions, changing weather patterns causing agricultural distress, labor shortages and the health care crisis. He stressed the necessity of foresight and planning to navigate through these challenges.

“Rather than being prisoners of the past or paralyzed by the present, we must be planning for our future… We must be constantly looking toward the future,” he urged.

Agriculture, being the largest sector of Mississippi’s economy, holds solutions to many challenges, according to Gipson. He shared a seven-point plan aimed at bolstering Mississippi’s economic stability and growth: the proposed Strategic Agriculture Facilities Expansion (S.A.F.E.) Plan emphasizes increasing local food production, diversifying energy sources, enhancing transportation infrastructure, preserving water resources, addressing ‘brain drain’ by investing in youth, revamping health care to promote healthy eating and fostering a strong moral base within communities.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time,” he said. “We have the opportunity to make daily decisions like planting seeds. Agriculture is not only Mississippi’s past – it is the key answer to Mississippi’s future success.”

His address at the Mississippi Hobnob encapsulated a proactive approach aimed at leveraging the state’s agricultural assets to navigate through the prevailing economic and social challenges, propelling Mississippi towards a robust and sustainable future.