The 1996 farm bill, he says, was “probably one of the best we’ve ever had. The fundamentals of that bill would be essential to support agriculture in the future. The 2002 bill was very similar, and we continued to maintain the necessity of having supports that agriculture needed to allow flexibility in marketing and have cash flows available.

“I think one of the more significant measures in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills was the fact that all livestock producers were given some conservation monies that they could access to help their operations.”

The question that always seems to surface, Waide says, is “Can farmers live without government supports? I guess the real question in my mind is, can we as a nation survive if we lose the ability we have to produce a domestic supply of food, energy, and fiber.”

In the aftermath of the multi-billion dollar disaster from Hurricane Katrina, and a subsequent blow from Hurricane Rita, Mississippi Farm Bureau leaders, staff, and members throughout the state worked round the clock to lend aid to farmers and rural communities devastated by the storms.

“No sector of agriculture was left untouched,” Waide says.

The organization led efforts to get desperately needed fuel to farmers to keep critical operations going, and feed and supplies to help them keep their animals from dying. It also managed money that was donated to the relief effort and made sure funds got to producers in need.