A Message from the President – Mike McCormick
Our Outstanding Young Farmers
One of the most important program areas we work with at Farm Bureau is leadership development. Each year, we strive to recognize and develop the strengths of our many volunteer leaders. Most importantly, we invest in our young farmers.
The future of Farm Bureau and Mississippi agriculture rests with the hardworking young men and women just starting out in our farming industry. Because we strive to honor that truth, we are working to strengthen our Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) program. We have asked for your support with this effort, and your willingness to help has been much appreciated.
This year’s state Young Farmers & Ranchers winners are an impressive group. They represented us well nationally, and I know you will enjoy reading about them inside this issue of our membership publication. Last year, our state Achievement Award recipients won the national Achievement Award competition. We were also proud of how well we were represented nationally by our Discussion Meet and Collegiate Discussion Meet winners, as well as our Excellence in Agriculture recipients.
Another point of pride was last year’s state YF&R Leadership and Advocacy Conference, where 500-plus young farmers were in attendance. This represented one of the largest turnouts for this meeting in the history of our organization. I expect the 2017 conference to be equally impressive. Since it takes place after I write this column, I will comment on it at a later date.
I hope you will encourage the young farmers in your area to participate in our Young Farmers & Ranchers program. We welcome their excitement, their energy and their ideas.
Our future depends on them.
Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership
Speaking of agriculture’s future leaders, Mississippi State University (MSU) recently unveiled the Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership program, which Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is helping to sponsor.
This program is open to Mississippi’s next generation of agricultural leaders and is designed to develop their leadership skills, enhance their understanding of policymaking and increase their communication and collaborative abilities. Extension will deliver the educational activities and content for nine intensive seminars over the two-year course.
We are proud to be a part of this great new program, and we’re excited that it is named for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. During his many years of distinguished service in Washington, D.C., Sen. Cochran has proven to be a true champion of agriculture.
You can read more about the program inside these pages.
By the time you receive this magazine, spring will have arrived, and state farmers will once again be working in their fields. According to a recent report from Mississippi State University, the estimated value of state agriculture increased by 1.8 percent in 2016 to $7.6 billion. The top two commodities once again were poultry and forestry, with estimated values of $2.9 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. Soybeans remained in the third spot, with a value of just over $1 billion.
This is great news for Mississippi farmers and exciting news for our state’s economy. I wish for our farmers an equally productive and successful year in 2017.
The March/April issue of our magazine always offers highlights of our annual membership meeting. I know you will enjoy looking back at the event through the many photos and articles.
One of my favorite moments at state convention is when I step up to the podium during the annual Business Session and look out at the hundreds of Farm Bureau voting delegates seated before me. Your tireless efforts to move Mississippi agriculture forward is why I love this organization so much.
When I was elected your president two years ago, I told you I was passionate about Farm Bureau. I hope my efforts on behalf of this great organization have demonstrated that I truly have dedicated my life to building a stronger and more dynamic Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. As I begin my second term in office, I look forward to continuing to work with you. We have accomplished a lot, but we still have many goals to reach.
As always, I covet your prayers, and I appreciate all that you do for Farm Bureau.