Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Sid Salter: State Ag & Forestry is $9.7 Billion Economic Development Project

 Just three months back, Mississippians celebrated Gov. Tate Reeves’ announcement of a $2.5 billion aluminum mill project in the Golden Triangle that promised 1,000 jobs at an average salary of $93,000. 

Operating for a time under the code name “Project Triple Crown” and kept remarkably quiet while in the negotiation stages, Reeves called a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to approve funding incentives and a bond package to expand the Mississippi operations of Steel Dynamics Inc. to construct and operate a 650,000-ton, low-carbon recycled flat-rolled aluminum mill.

The Golden Triangle Development LINK, the Mississippi Development Authority, and other entities shared in the arduous work and ultimate success of bringing the project to fruition – and such economic development success should rightly be celebrated in Mississippi – in the same manner as Mississippians celebrated landing the Nissan and Toyota auto plants and other such projects.

At the same time, however, it’s easy to overlook an existing and renewable sector of Mississippi’s economy that is growing and expanding. Despite crop price fluctuations, higher fuel prices and other costs of production, weather pressures, global geopolitical influences and other usual market forces, the state’s agricultural production value grew in 2022.

MSU Extension agricultural economist Josh Maples said that generally “farmers are generating more revenue this year, but they are also incurring higher expense.”

The Mississippi State University Extension Service reports that in 2022, the state’s agriculture value reached $9.7 billion – with poultry production accounting for $3.8 billion, soybeans accounting for $1.8 billion and forestry posting $1,3 billion.

Rounding out the top five Mississippi crops in terms of agricultural value produced were corn at $631 million and cotton at $624 million. The sixth highest ag production in overall value was livestock at $456 million, followed by catfish production at $258 million.

Coming in at No. 8 was hay production at $164 million followed by sweet potatoes at $112 million. Specialty crops – fruit, nuts, vegetables, etc. – were 10th overall in Mississippi agriculture production at $111 million.

Rice ($97 million), wheat ($36 million) and peanuts ($13 million) rounded out major crop value data for Mississippi farmers.

While market influences, weather, and other forces are inherent in farming, Mississippi farmers have faced new challenges that were virtually impossible to foresee and even more difficult to overcome over the last year.

Regarding the impact of the war in Ukraine, the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported earlier this year: “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been since February 2022 undermining the latter’s capacity to harvest and export crops. Ukraine is the world’s largest sunflower seed producer and a key exporter of wheat, rapeseed, barley, vegetable oil, and maize.

“No major disruption to crop production is anticipated in Russia, but uncertainties exist over its capacity to export, although international sanctions have so far exempted both food and fertilizers. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat and an important exporter of barley and sunflower seed. Russia is also a leading exporter of energy and fertilizers.”

The war in Ukraine impacts all agriculture through a constriction in the supply of fertilizers like anhydrous ammonia and the reduction of wheat and consumable oils. Couple that with a restricted ability to ship American grains including soybeans, and the higher cost of bread at your local supermarket is easier to understand.

The protracted drought in the Midwest has impacted Mississippi River shipping in a major way and directly impacted the nation’s farmers – and by extension, American consumers.

PBS reported in late November: “The Mississippi is normally one of the busiest cargo waterways in America, moving roughly 500 million tons of goods every year. More than half of all U.S. grain exports are moved on this water superhighway. But this drought, which constricts the depth and width of the river, has caused traffic jams. By some estimates, the flow of goods has been cut by 45 percent, all of which could cost the economy $20 billion in damages and losses.”

So, celebrate the $2.5 billion aluminum mill and the massive payroll it will bring to Mississippi. But remember to value the tens of thousands of jobs created in the state’s agribusiness sector that grow and strengthen in spite of barriers of politics or weather.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

1,000 jobs at an average of $93,000/year? Sure, and Jackson's water system will be rebuilt by this Friday.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart Sid. Will you also list the total subsidies that are paid to Mississippi agriculture then subtract that number from the amounts you listed.

Anonymous said...

Ignorant slurs about Andy Gipson's hat by blue-pilled beta cucks in 3..2...1..

Anonymous said...

$93,000 was a's $39,000.

Anonymous said...

More absolute drivel from a legend in his own mind.

Anonymous said...

Sid is trying to scratch something positive from the Dirt of Missippi, and all y’all want to do is piss on it and make mud.

Anonymous said...

I for one appreciate Sid's report on the success of our agricultural sector. I like to eat, therefore I applaud the hard work our farmers do every day, and I'm not hearing about it anywhere else. And as for the detractors who take pot shots every time Sid writes anything, try writing a few columns yourself. It's not as easy as you seem to think it is.

Anonymous said...

But what really is the purpose of this column? There is nothing new shared.

Good Job Commish said...

Speaking of Andy-the-hat...why does Kingfish not allow comments on Andy's "press release" bragging about distributing 4000 gallons of non-potable water? You do realize that's only 4000 jugs of water, which is the approximate traffic count on nearby interstate 55 in 36 hours.

Anonymous said...

King - go look at the announcement by the President of Steel Dynamics.

They are only creating 750 jobs, NOT 1000.

Anonymous said...

Non AG guy here. Appreciate the summary. Just a meaningless input, Timber in my view should be higher, southern yellow pine grows faster than fur in BC, useful product. We lack distribution for veggies, so we import them or rely on CA, distribution, this in not just MS. The beef and pork processing cartel is loved by big government bullies, more locally processed beef and dairy milk would be plus for Mississippi killed by regulation, regulation that makes the free market not be allowed by costs.

Anonymous said...

This article reads just like the Supertalk ag-market report. Total boredom. If that radio report were any longer, we'd all fall asleep and run in the ditch. If we were driving and somebody was reading this column out loud, we'd hit the same ditch.

Anonymous said...

7:56 - The last people to harvest fur in BC died 90 years ago. Perhaps you meant fir.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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