A new statewide branding program aims to promote products created or produced by Mississippi farmers, artisans, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
Genuine Mississippi is a membership program developed by the state Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson says the purpose is to increase public awareness of Mississippi's products by branding them.
"The communities that I'm meeting across the state who are wanting to buy locally [ask] how can we buy more local produce or more local products. Things that are not only grown or raised here in the agriculture community but things that are crafted and then things that are manufactured. And, we want to promote it and make sure people know where they can do just that," said Gipson.
There are four classifications of membership: Mississippi grown, raised, crafted and made.
Mike Wagner is the owner of Two Brooks Farm in Sumner. He is one of the inaugural members of the program.
"We think this is the best soil in the world. And, I'm just delighted that my farm is in Mississippi. We can easily share our products with people around the world via the river. We think that the soil makes our products taste better our rice tastes better. Genuine MS is going to be the right avenue in which to get more news out," said Wagner.
Part of the plan also is to provide a central website to display information about each members' products and their operations. Katy Prosser is with Simmons Catfish Farm. She says the farm and processing plant in Yazoo City employs more than 200 people. She says she hopes it will boost the state economy.
"Well, I hope people will be able to go to their website and be able to find more Mississippi product. It's just important for the Mississippi economy and all of our employees are right here in Mississippi and it's important to support Mississippi products," said Prosser.
More information is available online at www.geniunems.com. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.