After sitting with Gov. Phil Bryant for a few minutes, it’s becomes obvious just how important farming and agriculture is to him.
He credits his upbringing in the Mississippi Delta to planting the seed that farming isn’t just a job but much, much more.
“I think it’s the heart and soul of Mississippi,” he said. “All of us are just one generation from the farm. My grandparents had cotton in the Mississippi Delta in Moorhead where I was born. My grandfather later went into the poultry industry when it began to really become industrialized in the 1960’s, so I remember growing up playing on cotton bales and seeing the fields plowed and the hard work and dedication of the farmers that were my family.”
The leader who has helped bring thousands of jobs to the state over his eight years as governor says it’s no accident why Mississippi is prospering like never before. Everything leads back to the farm.
“Ever seen a farmer that can’t solve a problem? Give him some duct tape and some baling wire and he can fix the world, so, yes, it is problem solving,” Bryant said. “It is working with others.”
“These are the skills that you learn from farming that go right into aerospace industry,” he continued. “That goes right into advance manufacturing and so, yes, these are the traits that companies around the world and across America are looking for in their next generation of workers. We moved Mars Research Center from California, to Greenville, Mississippi.”
Even with car manufacturing in Tupelo and Canton, ship building and aerospace technology on the Gulf Coast, and countless other industries in between, Gov. Bryant said it’s agriculture that’s the driving force in the state pushing us to where we are today.
“When we talk about the automobile industry making 750,000 automobiles a year that’s exciting,” Bryant said. “Seventy percent of the Navy’s warships manufactured, 100 aerospace industries, but I always remind people it comes back to agriculture. Thirty percent of the people in this state still work in the agricultural business and (that number is) growing every day. I tell CEOs around the world this is the workforce in Mississippi, that built America. We grew up watching our parents work 15, 16 hours (a day) on the farms. We know what hard work is.”
In an effort to honor Bryant for remembering the importance of agriculture to Mississippi and assisting Farm Bureau in its endeavors, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation honored him with the 2018 Friend of Ag award.