Mississippi Dept. of Ag releases first-ever book on the history of the state agency | Mississippi News

Books will be available to the public beginning today, December 9, 2022.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced earlier this month that the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) will be releasing the first-ever book on the unique and meaningful history of the state agency.

MDAC said the history of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is as rich as Mississippi’s soil and as important as the state’s leading and largest industry itself – agriculture.

“Now, for the first time in its 116 years of serving the state of Mississippi and the public, MDAC is proud to release a book on the complete history of the state agency,” MDAC said.

The History of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce was a first-of-its-kind project for the agency, initiated by Commissioner Gipson.

Commissioner Gipson said he truly believes it is important to know and remember one’s history and pass on that history to future generations.

“With that thought in mind, I began this project to compile a written account on the history of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the only state agency that uniquely affects the daily lives of all Mississippians, whether they are involved in agriculture or not,” Gipson continued. “It has been very interesting for me to look back over the years and learn that our predecessors were challenged by a lot of the same issues we find ourselves facing today. There is something for everyone in this exclusive book, and I encourage all those who are interested to get their copy today.”

Staff at MDAC said in 2021, Commissioner Gipson charged Claude Nash, editor of the Mississippi Market Bulletin within MDAC’s Market Development Division, with overseeing the project. Nash has worked for MDAC for over 30 years and swiftly put together a team to write this history book.

Over a period of 16 months, the team compiled notes, researched, wrote drafts of the book section by section, edited, reworked sections, edited again and finally in June of 2022, completed the final draft.

MDAC officials explained that throughout this process, they interviewed several influential people and past employees along with past agency leaders, including U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Dr. Lester Spell Jr.

The team also collaborated with peers from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and Mississippi State University’s (MSU) libraries while utilizing various resources such as newspapers.com, law.justia.com and personal accounts from past and current employees of MDAC.

MDAC said this book chronicles the rich history of the agency and its divisions, as well as the events happening around the state and country that influenced agency policy over the years.

“Each chapter follows the administration of the era’s current Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and the happenings that unfolded during their time,” MDAC continued. “There are eight total chapters, mirroring the administrations of all eight commissioners. The finished manuscript of the History of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is one we are proud to release to the public and hope it will educate generations to come.”

Books will be available to the public beginning today, December 9, 2022. Special paperback editions signed by Commissioner Andy Gipson are available for purchase for $25.00 including shipping in the continental U.S.

You can find order forms and more information online at www.mdac.ms.gov/history/.

Commissioner Gipson said MDAC touches the daily lives of Mississippians through their various services and there is something educational and interesting for everyone to learn in this book.

“We currently have a limited number of books available, so I would encourage everyone that is interested in learning how the agency and agriculture has changed over the years to check out this one-of-a-kind publication,” Gipson said.

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