Thursday, September 29, 2005

Letter to the Editor

Hurricane affects farming:

To the Editor:

August 29, 2005, is a day that many Mississippians will remember for the rest of their lives. Hurricane Katrina blew on shore wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, but she also traveled the length of Mississippi, causing untold damage to the agricultural industry in the state.

Agriculture and related agri-business contribute more than $5 billion to the economy of our state each year. Agricultural producers took a blow to the chin from which all will suffer and some will not recover.

Forestry, dairy, and poultry took the worst of the storm. Timber losses alone could top $2 billion. Dairy and poultry producers lost animals, barns, and other buildings not to mention the extra expense of diesel fuel to run generators in an effort to keep animals alive.

Row crops were not immune from the destruction. While rice and corn bore the brunt of the damage, cotton and soybeans experienced losses as well.

On top of crop losses, farmers face additional transportation expense since the Port of New Orleans, through which most of the grain from the Midwest and South are exported, will not be fully operational again for months.

I would like to make a plea for help on behalf of all producers of the food and fiber that all Americans enjoy. Help the farmer.

Farmers have provided Americans with the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. Every citizen reaps the benefits of this most important industry. Now this industry needs your help.

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation has set up a Disaster Relief Fund that is specifically dedicated to help farmers.

One hundred percent of the money sent to this fund will be directed to helping farmers get back on their feet, back on their land, and back to the business of providing food and fiber to you.

Tax-deductible contributions may be made by writing a check to AFBFA / Hurricane Ag Fund and sending it to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, P. O. Box 1972, Jackson, MS 39215.

On behalf of the men and women of Mississippi agriculture, thank you.

David Waide, president
MS Farm Bureau Federation


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