Gipson also announced expanded efforts of MDAC’s Wild Hog Control Program (WHCP).
On Friday, Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced new partnerships between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) and youth, agricultural, and conservation organizations.
Today is the first day of the 2022 Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo, which runs Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7, at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Commissioner Gipson said that is why they picked today as the day to make several announcements.
“Each one of these relate to agriculture and conservation,” Gipson said. “You know, farmers are the original conservationists. Nobody cares more about the land than Mississippi farmers. Nobody cares more about making sure that our habitat is secure for our wildlife and our farmers.”
Gipson said that he cannot take credit for any one of the announcements because it is a testament to the people around Mississippi, from various different groups and organizations, looking at the issues the state faces and figuring out how to work together to tackle them.
“And I’m proud of that. I’m really proud of what we’re going to announce today,” Gipson said.
In the late 1950s, the Tennessee Valley Authority deeded to Mississippi a large track of land. One of the pieces of land that was carved out and signed to be used was given to the Mississippi Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Until 1976, that land was used as a FFA camp for outdoor recreation. Gipson said that it was “kind of lost to history.” About a year ago, representatives from FFA met with Commissioner Gipson and the two parties started to research what happened to the camp.
“And through our partnership and relationship with not only the FFA but with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Parks, we were able to come up with the research that is necessary to renew that lease, that agreement, that was entered into way back when,” Gipson said.
The Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner announced that they would recommence the FFA camp.
Commissioner Gipson also announced a new program that expands the efforts of MDAC’s Wild Hog Control Program (WHCP) and provides work-based learning experiences for youth.
Through the WHCP, MDAC offers wild hog traps to land managers for the control of wild hogs on private agricultural and forestry lands in Mississippi. Traps will be deployed in concentrated focal areas across the state and focal areas will be determined by MDAC through an application process. MDAC will provide the training necessary to use the “smart” traps and technical guidance regarding the most effective methods to trap and control wild hogs on private lands.
Gipson said that this trapping program is working, adding that MDAC is pleased to announce that they are taking the WHCP to a new level. He then announced the establishment of the Mississippi Wild Hog Control Program Youth Trapping Corps.
“These chapters of Future Farmers of America around the state, and schools all across the state, are going to get to partner personally with our farmers and the landowners and deploy these traps and trapping these hogs and doing the work necessary for the program,” Gipson explained.
“This takes people working together. Solving the problems of Mississippi, around the state, takes people working together across different lines and across organizations,” Gipson concluded. “Today’s the day we highlight that, so I want to thank everyone of y’all that was a part of the solution to deal with problems we face.”