Andy Gipson was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to be the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce in 2018 is now running to be elected to the seat. He sat down with Y’all Politics to discuss what he’s accomplished in this last year and what he hopes to achieve in the years to come.
“Before I even became Commissioner, I was involved in the international trade aspect,” said Gipson.
He traveled with Governor Phil Bryant to India to promote Mississippi products for export.
“India is the fastest-growing country,” said Gipson. “It will have more people than China by 2022, in just three years.”
The people of India will need to be fed and clothed–and that’s where Mississippi comes in, according to Gipson.
“When I became Commissioner, we were proud to announce…. India had lifted its ban on United States’ poultry, and we sent the first shipment of Mississippi chicken to India in over twenty years,” said Gipson.
Gipson added that talks have been conducted with Taiwan regarding the export of Mississippi beef products.
But promoting the products of Mississippi doesn’t mean just internationally. Right here at home, Commissioner Gipson started getting the word out about what the Magnolia State offers the world.
“I believe the greatest investment we can make is in ourselves,” said Gipson. “So we launched a new program to brand everything grown, raised, crafted and made right here in the Magnolia State as Genuine Mississippi.”
Commissioner Gipson said the brand was born from being tired of people looking down on Mississippi.
But Gipson admitted there is one problem–continuing the Genuine Mississippi legacy.
“I’ve spoken with farmers who don’t know who is going to run the place when they head to the house when they retire,” said Gipson. “The average age of a farmer in Mississippi is high.”
Having partnerships with schools, bringing back vocational programs, and providing experience for young people will help bridge the gap, said Gipson.
“Nearly a third of the people in Mississippi that are working are working in an agriculture-related sector,” said Gipson. “And agriculture is not grabbing a hoe and scratching in the dirt anymore. It is operating very high-tech equipment and we need to make sure we identify these young people who would be the next generation of the Ag workforce and keep them here in the state. (We need) to make sure they get the training and certification they need to operate this equipment and keep them here in Mississippi for the greatest part of our economy to continue to grow.”
All of this is why Gipson said he is running to be elected to the seat.
“We need strong, conservative leadership at the helm,” said Gipson. “I want to be that voice for Mississippi agriculture and commerce. (We need) a strong, conservative voice and one that has a record of getting things done. That’s my vision, and I hope that I have your support to do it.”
Gipson, while not facing a Republican opponent in the primary, is running against Democrat Rickey Cole. Gipson said his conservative leadership experience is what sets him apart from his opponent.
“I served in the legislature for nearly a dozen years as aa Conservative Republican, I have a strong record on that front,” said Gipson. “I have a record of getting things done and working with the Governor and the Legislature, and I can continue getting things done for the farmers, ranchers, and landowners of Mississippi.”
Gipson added that from the gas pumps to the register at the store, the commerce side of the office of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce has conducted inspections to ensure everything was working. He said no life in Mississippi is unaffected by the department.
“We want to continue to provide conservative leadership on that,” said Gipson. “I want to provide that leadership,” said Gipson. He also touted his high ratings as a pro-life, pro-second amendment rights, pro-pro-life, pro-second amendment rights, pro-religious freedoms legislator.
“I’ve also been able to work across the aisle in getting some things done such as criminal justice reform that conservatives agree on with others,” said Gipson. “And frankly, I feel I have the leadership qualities to take Missississippi Agriculture and Commerce to the next level.”