Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation members made a big splash at the Mississippi Capitol this week by participating in Ag Day at the Capitol. Through this event, members had the opportunity to interact with their legislators to discuss issues important to their farms.

To kick off the morning, members traveled to the Capitol for a tour and to visit the House and Senate chambers while they were in session. MFBF then invited all representatives and senators to join them for lunch at Galloway United Methodist Church, where Gov. Phil Bryant and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen Buck Clarke spoke.

Since Bryant had returned from meetings with President Donald Trump the day before, he used the platform to update MFBF members on storm damage throughout the state and the relief the Trump administration plans to send.

“I spoke to (Trump) about the storm damage as I was there realizing that we were going to have tornadoes more than likely and flooding,” Bryant said. “Flooding will be ahead of us. So, as I left the President I flew directly back to issue a declaration of emergency for all those affected counties.”

Clarke followed Bryant with his vision for rural Mississippi and several projects he and the Mississippi Senate are working on to help rural Mississippi thrive again.

“I’m from Hollandale. I’m from rural Mississippi. My great grandparents were raised in Hollandale. My grandparents, my parents, I was raised there and I’ve raised three children,” Clarke said. “In the last 40 years, my little town has lost half its population. I’m sure most of you in the rural areas can look at the same thing and see what’s happened…But things can be changed.”

Clarke hopes to create more jobs in rural Mississippi by expanding agriculture and the infrastructure it takes to produce certain commodities. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick agreed with Clarke’s sentiments, stating it takes support from groups like Farm Bureau to help make that happen.

“It’s really important to have all our commodity groups here today representing all of agriculture,” McCormick said. “It’s a big help to have all of our commodities, all of our members here under one roof at one time with our legislators.”

Active MFBF members William and Julie White said they participate in events like Ag Day at the Capitol to make their voices heard.

“Today we came down here to see our legislators to put a face to the farmer,” MFBF state board member William White said. “I want them to know what they’re voting on affects farmers across the state. I want them to know what’s going on in our area, they know how to vote on issues that affect us.”

“As an employee of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, it’s important for me to have contact with our legislators because we want them to know the programs that we have are helping the individuals in Mississippi,” Julie White said. “But also, as a farm family, it’s important for us to get the opportunity to tell our story. We want them to make sure the decisions they’re making today will benefit the future generations of our farm.”