Andy Gipson, Commissioner MS Department of Agriculture

 

The Rotary Club of Jackson was pleased to welcome the Commissioner of MS Department of Agriculture and Commerce, to speak.

 

After President Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi, called the meeting to order, David Raddin of Valic Financial gave the opening prayer, Allan Cole of Hampton Ascent led the pledge of allegiance and Neddie led the Rotary 4-way test. Tony Webb of Community Bank introduced and welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests of Rotarians.

 

The head table included Mark Saxon of First Commercial Bank; Mike Pepper of MS road Builders Association, Steve Corbitt, owner of the Corbitt Company and Dolphus Weary from the R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation who introduced Commissioner Gipson.

 

 

The Rotary District 6820 Leadership Institute Parts I, II and III will be held August 25 at Jackson First Church.  This is open to all Rotarians. http://www.hoa-rli.org

 

Michelle Temple Reza was inducted into the RCJ as our newest member.  Michelle is the Executive Director of the JDRF and was introduced by her father, fellow Rotarian, Mac Temple.



Mark Saxon, Chairman of the Rotary Foundation committee, gave brief description of the Foundation committee and their work.  The committee is charged with advancing member education and support of the Rotary International Foundation. As a part of Rotary International, it is important that RC of Jackson participate in the worldwide and local charitable efforts of Rotary International. 50% of contributions to the Rotary International Foundation go to worldwide efforts along these six areas of focus:

 

• Peace and conflict prevention/resolution

• Disease prevention and treatment

• Water and sanitation

• Maternal and child health

• Basic education and literacy

• Economic and community development

 

50% of contributions are returned to the Rotary District 6820 which are used to provide grants

for local Rotary Club charitable activities. Two of our club’s activities for which we receive grants

are Rise Against Hunger and the dictionary project.

 

The Rotary District 6820 Leadership Institute Parts I, II and III will be held August 25 at Jackson First Church.  This is open to all Rotarians. http://www.hoa-rli.org

 

Commissioner Gipson has owned and managed a cattle operation in Simpson County for more than 20 years and a tree farm since 2004. He is a member of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association and the Simpson County Development Foundation.  Gipson served on the State Legislature for 12 years, gaining accolades and awards from such organizations as MADD, Pro-Life Mississippi and the National Rifleman’s Association.

Gipson received a bachelor of arts in political science in 1999 from Mississippi College and a juris doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law in 2002, graduating first in his class of 113 students. He was active in the Christian Law Students Association and was editor-in-chief of the Mississippi College Law Review. He has been in private law practice since 2002.

Gipson is a Baptist minister and has served as pastor of Gum Springs Baptist Church since 2011. He and his wife, Leslie, have been married since 2001. They have four children — Joseph, Benjamin, Abigail and Sarah. They reside on their small working farm in Simpson County.

 

Gipson spoke about getting the call from Gov. Bryant to become commissioner and that it required quick prayers to make the decision.  Gipson has spent the summer traveling all areas of the state, speaking to farmers and people involved in the AG industry, identifying the needs of the state. 

 

MS AG is the largest industry in the state attributing to $7.6 billion.  Poultry is the top producing industry followed by pine/timber.  AG employs 29% of the population of MS.  95% of what is grown in MS is shipped outside of the state and country.  AG is the lifeblood of small towns and communities.  MS has the ability to grow nearly anything because the state has a diversity of regions with 10-11 different types of soil. 

 

By the year 2050, MS AG will have to find ways to become more productive because the demand for agriculture products will exceed supply.  “It is crucial that we work together to plant and tend the seeds of opportunity for agriculture,” Gipson said. “I invite all Mississippians of every background to work in unity to strengthen and grow this, the state’s largest economic sector. Let’s go to work together and pull in the same direction.”

 

The Department of Agriculture has started a new branding initiative called Genuine MS to highlight all things grown, raised, crafted or made in MS.  The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce created Genuine MS to make it easy for you to find products proudly created or produced by Mississippi farmers and entrepreneurs. Genuine MS shows our state pride and keeps our economy strong.  More information can be found at https://genuinems.com/.

Commissioner Gipson fielded questions pertaining to the catfish industry, bailout money and the road and bridge programs.

President Winters thanked the Commissioner and meeting was adjourned.