A Message from the President – Mike McCormick

 

 

The American Dream

My Farm Bureau responsibilities keep me very busy nowadays, but whenever I get the opportunity, I head home to Jefferson County. I still farm the same land my ancestors farmed in the 1820s.  I still worship at the same church they helped to establish 200 years ago this year.

My job as president of the largest general farm organization in Mississippi is a dream come true, but the minute I set foot on my land near Union Church, I am reminded once again why I farm. Farmers are just a different breed, I guess.  Who else would relish spending the entire day – from sunrise to well after sunset – working outdoors in the heat and cold, wind and rain, tending to their crops and livestock? Who else would eagerly pour their blood, sweat and tears into a farming operation only to see it upended by the weather or rising input costs or falling commodity prices, to name just a few of the challenges farmers encounter in any given year?

I’m just a born farmer. It’s my family’s legacy, and I’m proud of that fact. I suspect you feel the same way, too.

Each year, our land-grant institutions, Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University, help farmers excel at what they do. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Because of their tireless efforts, we are able to farm smarter and more efficiently than ever before in our nation’s history. As a result, consumers have access to an abundant, safe and affordable supply of food, fiber and fuel.

When the 2018 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature convenes on Jan. 2, I encourage you to make sure your local lawmakers know how important our land-grant institutions are to all Mississippians. It is imperative that we keep agricultural research adequately funded.

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation also strives to make sure farmers have the environment they need to successfully do their jobs. This year, in addition to assisting those farmers affected by adverse weather conditions, we provided all farmers with information about the latest developments in agricultural research and technology. We spoke up about state and national issues impacting agriculture.  We supported programs that took agriculture’s message to the consuming public and programs that helped shape the agricultural leaders of tomorrow.

We have an excellent staff here at the state office, but we couldn’t do what we do without the efforts of our hundreds of volunteer leaders across the state.  The theme of this year’s state convention, “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work,” pretty much says it all.  Together, we can accomplish so much more than we could ever accomplish alone.

Speaking of state convention, it’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. As our harvesting efforts wind down and the holiday season approaches, let’s remember to give thanks for our nation’s farmers and for the dedicated men and women who work to strengthen our farming industry. Let’s also give thanks for the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Here in this great nation, we have an opportunity to dream big and work hard to build a successful life for ourselves and our families. I can think of no finer example of this than Luis Monterde of Lamar County.

Luis is a longtime friend of agriculture and a dedicated Farm Bureau volunteer leader who helped build our state’s commercial blueberry industry. Fleeing communism, he came to this country from Cuba many years ago with (in his own words) “just my body and a willingness to work hard.” Luis became an American citizen and built a successful life for himself in the southern region of our state. More importantly, he made a point of giving back to our farming industry in many significant ways. As with most Mississippians, Luis’ deep faith in God guided him through the good years and the challenging years. His faith remains strong today.

I invite you to read Luis Monterde’s inspiring story inside this issue of our membership magazine.

As always, I covet your prayers and support. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing you at state convention in December.