Andy Gipson, the incumbent Republican agriculture commissioner, speaks during Mississippi Economic Council's 2023 Hobnob at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Credit: Eric J. Shelton/Mississippi Today

Incumbent Republican Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson faces Democratic nominee Robert Bradford in Tuesday’s general election.

Gipson, 46, of Braxton, is a lawyer, a tree and cattle farmer, a Baptist minister and former longtime state representative, where he served as chairman of the Judiciary B Committee. He was appointed as agriculture commissioner in 2018 to fill out now U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s term, then elected to the post.

Bradford, 50, is a fourth-generation Delta farmer. He is currently serving as the director of the Natchez-Adams County Homeland Security Program, Floodplain Management Program, Emergency 9-1-1 coordinator and Emergency Management Agency. Bradford is a U.S. Army 82nd Airborne veteran, and retired as a major with the Army Reserves. He has a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from Alcorn State University.

Gipson said he’s made great accomplishments during his term-and-a-half as agriculture commissioner. He said he’s consolidated divisions within his agency and saved tax dollars, helped grow international markets for the state’s growers and fought unnecessary regulatory burdens from Washington.

“Agriculture is the single largest economic sector in the state of Mississippi,” Gipson said. “Another reason it’s so critical, is it’s the only industry God personally designed for the sustainability of the world.”

Bradford says his experience in farming, emergency management and military planning make him the most qualified candidate to oversee the state’s agriculture industry.

“Why do we have an attorney running our agriculture?” Bradford told a recent crowd at a candidates’ forum. “… There’s nothing political in agriculture. The only red and blue things in agriculture are strawberries and blueberries.”

READ MOREMississippi Today’s complete voter guide for the Nov. 7 general election

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Take our 2023 reader survey

Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.