Ag Commissioner to announce efforts to strengthen state’s food supply chain

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Photo by Robert Hill

Tomorrow, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson will make several announcements pertaining to efforts to strengthen the state’s food supply chain. 

According to the department, Commissioner Gipson will detail steps being taken to expand farm-to-table efforts and to increase food security for Mississippians.

  • An emergency rule to expand the custom slaughter exemption by increasing the allowed number of shares sold per animal will be signed by Commissioner Gipson.
  • Commissioner Gipson will announce the launch of the Mississippi Farm Marketplace, an online marketing portal, to connect farmers and consumers. This online portal gives farmers a place to advertise commodities they have for sale, while providing consumers a location to easily source local products.
  • Commissioner Gipson will discuss a proposal to expand meat processing capacity in the state.

Concerns have been raised regarding the strength of the food supply chain in America as the COVID-19 pandemic causes delays and closures, but Gipson says that Mississippi’s farmers are working to keep things on track. 

“The country’s food supply chain continues to function in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, labor issues in other states, coupled with shifting demands as restaurants and schools have closed, have strained the supply chain,” said Commissioner Gipson. “In Mississippi, our food supply is abundant, plentiful and safe, thanks to our hardworking farmers. It is imperative that we take steps that will provide new market opportunities for our farmers, while simultaneously providing consumers with avenues to purchase direct from farmers. These steps are all part of keeping our food supply diverse and secure.”

In late April, John Tyson, the CEO of Tyson Foods, wrote that “the food supply chain is breaking” following the company’s decision to temporarily close several plants. Tyson explained that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain” due to the decision; placing a strain of grocery stores. More recently, reports state that over 1,000 Wendy’s locations are out of beef. Currently, no meat production plants in Mississippi have shut their doors due to the pandemic. 

Tomorrow’s press conference will be live-streamed on the News Mississippi Facebook page.

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