The Northeast Mississippi Dailyl Journal, 11/2/7

The demise of a $55 million beef processing plant is the top issue in this year’s race for state commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

“I thought it would be a good project for agriculture,” Spell said, citing a 2001 study by Mississippi State University touting the plant’s benefits. “Based on what it could do and the study, I supported it.”

However, Cole said it was Spell’s responsibility to research the idea for the plant and not rely solely on the MSU study. In addition, an internal MSU memo in 1999 warned that investment in the beef plant would be risky, according The Clarion-Ledger. The paper printed the memo in 2005.