Mississippi's new agriculture commissioner is hitting the soil running with a statewide initiative to unify farmers. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
Former state Representative Andy Gipson is taking his oath of office to become Mississippi's eighth commissioner of agriculture and commerce. One of his first priorities in office is to tour the state's farms both large and small. Gipson says he is dedicated to learning more about the variety of soils and the people who maintain them.
"We're gone travel to every corner of the state probably over a 12 to 15 week period this summer during the growing season as we see agriculture in work and process. And then, we are going to assemble the facts that we find and expand the opportunities for the economic growth of agriculture in this state," said Gipson.
The Braxton resident succeeds fellow Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has been appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Phil Bryant. Bryant spoke during Gipson's swearing-in ceremony. He says he couldn't have selected a better person.
"Man you can trust, man that trusts in the Lord, a man that loves agriculture and commerce... I've seen him in rooms around the world when we were in Nu Deli and Bombay as we were sitting there, speaking to the agriculture minister of India. The nation of India the largest democracy in the world is now buying poultry from the United States and a lot of that comes from Mississippi," said Bryant.
Gipson will serve the rest of the four-year term started by Hyde-Smith. Bryant will set a special election in parts of Simpson and Rankin counties to fill Gipson's former House seat, and the winner will serve until January 2020.
Ashley Norwood, MPB News.