Genetically Modified Crops ~ "While these crops are fine for those who want to grow them, they still require further study. For those who don't want to use them, you should not be charged a fee for a wind blown gene infecting their natural or organic crop. It should be the other way around."
EPA Regulations ~ Everyone who participates in agriculture, business, or everyday living as Mississippi citizens and consumers, has some degree of interaction/ involvement with the EPA. We know that no one wants dirty air or water, and no one supports littering or rampant pollution. However, there are times when the EPA, an agency created to protect the environment, takes actions that may harm the economy in return for very little added environmental protection. Regulations such as the proposed "Dust control" rule, will only cripple agricultural and business operations and should be opposed by this office.
Proposed GIPSA Rule ~ "Most people, as I do, oppose oppressive government interference and control. The GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act) rule is a government intervention, but only to protect the actual growers in Mississippi. It is a nationwide program.
There are times when a private entity such as Tyson, JBS Swift and the very few others that control nearly 85% of the meat industry, over-reach and attempt to corner a portion of our great free market, such as what has happened in the poultry industry. The GIPSA rule will allow our producers a CHANCE to prosper if they are willing to work.The GIPSA rule will put a referee on the field to make sure the smallest producer has the same opportunities for profit and protection against abuse as the larger corporate interests. There is no tolerance for monopolistic control without regulation in other industries, why is only agriculture subject to these abuses without oversight?
International Corporate Farming ~ "Some hailed free trade agreements as the salvation of US agriculture. Far from it, these agreements have sacrificed the profitability of Mississippi producers on the altar of world trade. While our producers' hands are tied with regulations such as EPA, OSHA, minimum wage, and other measures designed to maintain safety and fairness to the workplace, our foreign competitors' are not.
The trade we currently engage in may be free trade, but it is certainly not fair trade. Any future agreements must be carefully reviewed to protect US interests and the agreements currently in place should be re-evaluated. Some may accuse me of protectionism, but I say What's wrong with protecting our families, our profitability, and our way of life?"
Food Inspection ~ "Every consumer needs to be sure that the food they buy for their families is safe to eat. The USDA inspects very few samples so it is left to the State of Mississippi to make sure our food supply is safe. I am deeply concerned about these responsibilities, and I pledge to continue a vigorous testing and inspection policy to insure that the safety of the Mississippi public is the foremost concern of food retailers."
Private Property Rights (Eminent Domain) ~Eminent domain, a power for communities to gain access to private property for the common good such as a road or water project, is a legitimate tool, but the Supreme court was wrong when it ruled this political power could be used to benefit one private entity over your and your heirs interests simply because the community would receive more tax revenue (the common good supposedly). Your property is your property and as such, anyone wanting to build a more upscale entity should pay you fair market value for your land if you are willing to sell.
Country of Origin Labeling ~It was appalling that you, the consumer, were not given the opportunity to choose which country the food you selected for your family came from for so many years. You now have that right and as Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, I will make sure the labeling law is enforced. The project of 2003 by the MS Livestock Markets Association, demonstrates the support I feel for your right of choice. Given the proper information, I hope you will select "Product of USA" and in particular, "Product of MS, USA"
Mississippi Promotion ~ Going beyond the labeling that allows you to know which country from which your food originates, is the made in Mississippi label. All of our producers work hard to provide their customers the very best products and this easily accomplished labeling will allow you as a consumer to support your friends, neighbors, and fellow Mississippians with your purchases. The labeling will also allow this office to promote Mississippi products across our great nation and around the world.
Recreation ~ "Agri-tourism is poised to be on the fore front of low cost, family friendly economic opportunities that will provide that balance between make it or break it for some MS family farms. This is an area where we all can excel. It goes far beyond traditional hunting and fishing to include such diverse activities as trail walking or cycling, bird watching, or simply enjoying a day in the countryside with a picnic. This is an incredible opportunity for those in rural MS to open their doors to their urban neighbors and allow them to experience the bounty we all too often take for granted."
Mandatory Animal ID ~ This should only apply for heath reasons, and then only to the adult breeding population. For many years, the brucellosis tag program has proved an effective low cost method of animal identification. Rather than a costly radio frequency ear tag, (that may pull out and be lost), the simple metal tag was read and recorded by an official USDA or State of MS, employee, with the information being sent back to Jackson where it is recorded in electronic form and held at he State level unless requested by another official body for official identification purposes only.
Since the diseases sought to be protected against, bovine TB, chronic wasting disease, and BSE (mad cow) all take over 3 years to develop symptoms, it makes no sense to require the recording of the movements of those animals under 24 months since they will have entered the food chain prior to becoming 30 months old. The lone health exception is Hoof and Mouth disease, a rapidly spreading malady, which has not occurred in the US since the 1920's. In the unlikely event there is an outbreak, under current law, all trade and physical traffic in live animals will cease until the situation is stabilized.
Regulatory Responsibilities ~ There is an explanation of the responsibilities of the State Agriculture & Commerce Commissioner at this link.
JOEL GILL FOR MS COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE