Stronger Food Supply Chain in MS
Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Andy Gipson, outlined steps being taken by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to strengthen the state’s food supply chain in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiatives expand farm-to-table efforts and increase food security and the availability of Mississippi food for Mississippians.
- Initiative 1: Commissioner Gipson signed an emergency rule to expand the custom slaughter exemption by increasing the allowed number of shares sold per animal. The 120-day emergency rule will expire; however, the Department will file a regular rule change to make this a permanent rule. Commissioner Gipson says this action will provide additional options for both farmers and consumers.
- Initiative 2: The launch of the Mississippi Farm Marketplace, an online marketing portal that gives farmers a place to list commodities they have for sale, while providing consumers a location to easily source local products. A variety of commodities can be listed including produce, meats, dairy products, honey, live animals for custom slaughter, eggs, aquaculture, seafood, and horticulture products. In addition, the portal contains a listing of on-farm jobs available.
- Initiative 3: Commissioner Gipson discussed the need to expand meat processing capacity in the state as some producers are unable to get meat processed because many processing facilities are at capacity. He invited existing meat processors to submit applications to the Mississippi Land, Water, and Timber Resources Program to upgrade their facilities to federally inspected status, or expand their facilities for additional processing capacity.