Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Governor Haley Barbour Announces Agriculture and
Rural Renewal Conference

National, State Leaders To speak

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour today announced his upcoming agriculture and rural renewal conference, "Beyond the City Limits," set for Thursday, August 19, at the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson. Governor Barbour, local and federal officials, and nationally recognized speakers are all a part of this event which examines agriculture in Mississippi and explores opportunities for creating economic success in rural communities. Hundreds are expected to attend the event including farmers, supervisors, agricultural organizations, local economic development officials, and small business people.

"Economic development in Mississippi is defined more than just manufacturing. It is time Mississippi looked to its rural communities as places for job creation," said Governor Barbour. "Our rural communities are poised to take advantage of economic opportunities through their high quality of life, distinctive surroundings and history, and unique workforce skill sets," he added.

The day-long conference features keynote speaker Jack Schultz, Chief Executive of Agracel Inc., and author of Boomtown USA; 7 ½ Keys to Big Success in Small Towns; David Waide, President, Mississippi Farm Bureau; Dr. Vance Watson, Vice President of the College of Agriculture at Mississippi State University; Woods Eastland, CEO Staplcotn; Leland Speed, Executive Director MS Development Authority; Dr. Vaughn Grisham, Director, McLean Institute for Community Development in Oxford, MS; Dr. Lester Spell, Commissioner, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce; Nick Walters, State Director, USDA Rural Development, and others.

"While less than 2% of the U.S. population is engaged in production agriculture, it remains the backbone of Mississippi's economy employing 30% of our workforce directly or indirectly," said Governor Barbour. "This conference is an important part of making sure advancing agriculture remains an important focus in Mississippi."

Sessions will focus on both agriculture and rural development. Morning speakers will address impacts of globalization and trade, and assess economic prospects and investment opportunities of value-added agriculture. The afternoon session will provide ample ideas for creating success in any small town, from main street revitalization to wildlife tourism.

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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741