Why They’re Running: Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

We asked commissioner of agriculture and commerce candidates Rickey Cole and Andy Gipson why they are running and what they hope to accomplish. Here's what they said.

Why are you running?

Rickey Cole

"I am committed to changing the direction of the state Department of Agriculture and Commerce away from its current enforcement, nostalgia and entertainment emphasis to a more concentrated marketing and consumer services focus to improve our economy. We need a "Department of Food." Total MS farm income excluding soybeans declined nearly 5% during 2007-2017. Doing the same thing over and over again is not working. We can encourage farming entrepreneurship, eliminate food deserts, create jobs, and combat diet-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and obesity by producing, processing, marketing and providing better access to more healthy, local, and affordable food products to Mississippi consumers. Mississippi can become wealthier and healthier by spending our food dollars locally, with our neighbors. "

Andy Gipson

"I am running to continue sowing seeds of opportunity for Mississippi agriculture; ensure safe, affordable food; protect rights of producers and consumers through conservative leadership. As a farmer and attorney, I have the passion and skills to fight effectively for Mississippi farmers and our rural, conservative values. I advocate for policies so our farmers can compete in international markets as well roadside stands; policies to ensure the agricultural sector is profitable, and we have safe and affordable food; policies that promote markets and grow our economy. My record demonstrates my commitment to Mississippians as your advocate in agriculture and commerce."

What do you hope to accomplish?

Rickey Cole

"90% of what we eat in Mississippi comes from outside the state, much of it from foreign countries, costing us nearly $6 billion per year. By eliminating the 7% sales tax on Mississippi produced food, cutting out the state red tape that prevents local producers from selling to their neighbors, and refocusing the state department of agriculture upon its core responsibility of marketing Mississippi farming and ranching products, my longterm goal is to keep $1 billion of our food purchases in state. That will create 13,000 new jobs and provide desperately needed economic growth for our rural counties and small towns."

Andy Gipson

"I will continue using my skills – agricultural, business, legislative, speaking and legal - to fight for you and for Mississippi’s farmers, ranchers and landowners. I cut regulations that burden small farms so they can grow and compete in the modern marketplace, while ensuring consumers are protected and safeguarding taxpayer dollars. I’m expanding Mississippi’s reach into international markets so farmers can sell more beef, soybeans, corn, timber, poultry, catfish and other commodities to grow our economy. Promoting Mississippi agriculture is a wonderful calling and if I’m blessed with your support, I will continue these efforts to keep Mississippi agriculture great."

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