Mississippi News

New Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Complex groundbreaking

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson, along with Rankin County and City of Brandon officials, broke ground on the new Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Market Complex on Monday, March 19. The complex is located off Highway 18 in Brandon. 

Gipson was joined by Pastor Gene Henderson; Supervisor Steve Gaines, President of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors; Noel Daniels, President of Rankin First; and Mayor Butch Lee, City of Brandon. 

In conjunction with celebrating National Agriculture Day and recognizing the importance of agriculture to the State of Mississippi, Commissioner Gipson discussed the vision to support local farmers emphasizing the groundbreaking was about having a vision – a vision for the State of Mississippi to become the epicenter of food production, storage and distribution in the southeastern United States. The Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Market Complex is Phase 1 of the Mississippi Strategic Agriculture Facilities Expansion (S.A.F.E.) Plan announced in July 2023. The Complex will be Mississippi’s first-ever local food supply, storage and distribution hub.

“Today is a day we will always remember as a state and as a country when we had the vision to plan ahead for our local food supply. Food security is national security. America’s strength internationally is driven in large measure by our strength to produce not only food for our people here in Mississippi but also for people around the world,” said Commissioner Gipson. “This vision is about growing markets for our local farmers, making new opportunities for our local farmers at the same time as we bring new opportunities for local consumers who want fresh local food.”

Defining vision as ‘the ability to see the invisible,’  Gipson challenged attendees to see the vision for the Market Complex by ‘seeing’ the challenges, solutions and opportunities.  Gipson outlined the challenges of the local food supply chain including the supply chain shortages resulting from the Covid pandemic; fewer number of farmers today; foreign interests in purchasing farmland; weather-related events such as storms and drought; and federal regulation overreach. Emphasizing farmers being the answer to the challenges,  Gipson offered solutions including supporting and strengthening local food supply systems, growing markets for local farmers, enhancing existing markets and the innovative creation of new markets for local food through programs such as Genuine MS®.

Gipson highlighted four economic development opportunities: expanding workforce development opportunities for 4-H and FFA students; the opportunity for Mississippi to become the epicenter of food production with the predicted shift of food production from the west to the southeast U.S. due to water shortages; the ability for the Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Market Complex to become a destination for consumers to experience Mississippi’s agricultural products and for farmers to market their products; and growing international trade opportunities.

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