Ricky Cole, a Democrat aiming to obtain the Ag & Commerce Commissioner seat in 2019 spoke to visitors at the Neshoba County Fair on Wednesday.

Mississippi is an economic colony when it comes to agriculture, according to Rickey Cole. But despite flourishing agriculture, the resources are skewed.

“For the first time, poor people also have an obesity problem,” said Cole. 

The former Mississippi Democratic Party chairman wants to remove the sales tax on all Mississippi produced food. Then, have doctors prescribe healthy diets to combat health problems. 

Cole said that when it comes to how the ag business works in Mississippi, his opponent Andy Gipson is out of touch.

“My opponent will tell you about a little program he’s got going on to promote food…. There are $16,000 beef operations in Mississippi. He’s promoting a grand total of nine.” 

Cole also believes that too much focus is put on exporting the state’s goods.

“If 1 billion of the billions of food exports in Mississippi were kept in the state, it would create 13,000 jobs,” said Cole. “My opponent says he’s been to India three times to sell chicken products… there are places in Mississippi you can’t buy chicken products.” 

Cole added that small town, rural economy is failing because no one in Jackson is offering them on iota of hope.

“We need a full-time commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce… I want to work for you all day, every day, and every weekend to make Mississippi healthier. And we can do that with neighbors feeding neighbors.” 

Mississippi has the land, the farmers, and the market. Cole said it’s the leadership that is lacking. 

Cole said if you’re looking at a plate and can’t find anything on it from Mississippi, that’s a problem.