Mississippi farming, agribusiness, and agriculture operates within a diversity of soils and topography, aquifers, riparian and coastal zones, crop pests, and wildlife. This complexity also creates possible alternative uses and values for those resources. The state’s political environment thus includes economic and political interests in agriculture, rural communities, urban development, outdoor recreation, and the environment.

Mississippians face a number of important agricultural and resource policy issues. The state’s farmers receive millions of dollars per year in federal commodity payments. However, federal budget pressures and political shifts could limit future federal commodity programs. Mississippi agriculture is also subject to potential restrictions from the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Food Quality Protection Act and FIFRA, Conservation Compliance programs, state laws, and local restrictions.

The U.S. Congress, the Mississippi Legislature, and local governments have been dealing with the following items affecting agriculture:

  • The USDA Farm Services Agency is conducting a sign-up for single-year and multi-year disaster assistance.
  • The sign-up period for crop insurance is underway until February 28. Congress appropriated $400 million to subsidize crop insurance by 30 percent in 1999.
  • Due to political distractions in Washington, Congress has not yet taken any action this year on major environmental regulations such as reauthorizing the Endangered Species Act.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead in its implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act.

Did you know that there exist a host of opportunities for anyone to establish a lifelong career in agriculture? For instance…

Photography is a challenging and fascinating project. Anyone can “snap” a picture, but only a good photographer can make a lifelike portrait. 4-H photography members study and practice the art of making pictures. The project supplements other 4-H projects and activities.  Photography may become a lifelong skill and hobby or a full-time career. Members may participate in visual presentation, judging, records, and exhibits.

(originally published at http://msucares.com/management/farm/ )