Wholeheartedly committing oneself to a position of volunteer leadership in any organization takes time and dedication, especially for an organization like the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation who serves more than 192,000 members. But, Reggie Magee did it with a smile on his face for more than 20 years as a token of his appreciation for his fellow farmers and ranchers.
“I grew up on a farm and when I was a little boy I played in the dirt and wanted to farm,” Reggie said. “When I was in school we had a little cotton patch right out there in front of the house and as kids we had that for a little extra money. Back then things were a lot different.”
Today, instead of cotton patches, Reggie raises cattle and chickens. But looking back, he has realized the more times change, the more farming has been a constant through the years.
“Farming is an ongoing thing and there are no days that are the same in farming,” he said. “None whatsoever. You wake up one day and things are different. Right now, I think (some of) the farmers are struggling and some are doing good. I’ve seen this for all my life. I’ve seen the downs and I’ve seen the ups. And we are going to have the downs and we are going to have ups, but the people that are true farmers – that do things the way they are supposed to do them – they’ll always be able to make it.”
Reggie admitted he was happy to serve Farm Bureau as a county president and never dreamed he would rise to south Mississippi vice president. His goal was always to represent farmers and farming the best he could.
“Farm Bureau is just a part of farming and farming is the only thing that I have ever wanted to do in my life,” Reggie said. “I love farming. All aspects of it. I had no idea I’d be the county president, but I wound up being (it). Back in those times it was hard to sacrifice the time to go to meetings and do all the stuff that we had to do.”
As it turns out, Reggie wasn’t the only one sacrificing as he traveled back and forth to events across the state.
“Actually I have not been as involved as he,” said Peggy Magee, Reggie’s wife. “When he first was elected as Vice President, we had poultry houses and we had no help. (It was) just the two of us so a lot of – for 15 or 16 years, I took care of the poultry houses when he was gone.”
In honor of his dedication and hard work over the last two decades, Reggie was honored as the 2018 Distinguished Service award recipient after stepping down from his position as south Mississippi vice president in December. With everything the Magees have been involved in through Farm Bureau, they said they will miss one thing.
“One thing I’m going to look back on and remember are the people,” Reggie said. “The members. You know, I have friends all over Mississippi. I have (friends) in other states, too. I’m going to miss it all. I really will. It will be difficult for Peggy and me both cause, you know, we (have spent) 20 years our life (as) Farm Bureau people. We’ve been (a part of) the Farm Bureau family and we know so, so many people. So many friends.”