Bill Kennedy, a longtime cotton ginner from Inverness, Miss., and one of the founders of the Delta Wildlife conservation organization, will serve as president of the Delta Council in 2007-08.
Kennedy’s selection to lead the Mississippi Delta region’s “chamber of commerce” was announced at the Delta Council’s 72nd annual meeting, which was held on the campus of Delta State University May 18.
Kennedy, president and general manager of Duncan Gin, Inc., has held a number of positions, including serving as a vice president of the Delta Council in 1998. He has also chaired the Delta Council’s Cotton Ginning and Cotton Quality Committee for the past 10 years.
Joining Kennedy as Delta Council officers for 2007-08 will be vice presidents Randy Dismuke, Greenville, Miss.; Willis Frazer, Clarksdale, Miss.; Manuel Killebrew, Marks, Miss.; Lawrence Long, Indianola, Miss.; Sherry Smythe, Leland, Miss.; and William Thompson, Yazoo City, Miss. Rusty Bennett, Clarksdale, Miss., will serve as treasurer.
“In my small hometown of Inverness, I dare say there is not one individual, businessman, or farmer who does not know of the importance of Delta Council to our community,” said Kennedy, following his introduction by outgoing the Delta Council president, Tom Gary of Greenwood, Miss.
“From a very early age, I have watched the men and women of our community involved in Delta Council, and there was never a question in my mind that if I came back home, I wanted to be involved with Delta Council.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Ga.-R, ranking minority member on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, was the annual meeting’s keynote speaker. Chambliss’ selection was an indication of the importance the Delta Council places on farm policy issues, said Gary.
“Federal policy toward agriculture is the economic policy of the Mississippi Delta,” said Kennedy. “When trade issues and the channels of commerce are functioning properly in U.S. agriculture, the farm economy of the Mississippi Delta is driven by the prosperity of a strong marketplace.
“However, when the channels of trade and non-market economies in Asia and Africa cause trade deficits, U.S. farm policy must be in place to respond to the impact which these non-market economies have on rural America.”
Kennedy also thanked the state and federal agencies represented at the meeting. “These are not just organizations that enforce policies and guidelines,” he noted. “To Delta Council, they are people who work with us to make this Delta a better place. Sure, we would like to have it better than we have it, but I can’t even imagine what it would be like without the cooperation and support of these agencies.”
Kennedy has served as chairman of Delta Wildlife and as president of both the Mississippi Ginners Association and the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. He is also a director and vice president of PYCO Oil Mill.
He has been active in civic and religious organizations in Inverness and was chairman of the Mississippi Delta Community College Capital Campaign Fund.
He is married to the former Lanny Baker of Leland, Miss. They have two children.