Mississippi Farm Bureau delegates will gather in Jackson, Miss., for their 88th annual convention, Dec. 5-7, with an agenda to set policy for the state’s largest farm organization.

Mississippi Farm Bureau President David Waide, West Point, Miss., row crop and cattle producer, announced a membership total of 209,376 member families.

The adoption of the organization’s policy book, which lays out Farm Bureau’s direction for the coming year, is the most important business of the upcoming convention, Waide said.

“This has been a very tough year for Mississippi farmers because the late season rains destroyed what could have been a record crop in many commodities,” Waide said. “Our policies will reflect the membership’s feelings about many issues including ones that affect all consumers.”

The 2009 annual meeting begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, with a statewide talent contest and the Miss Farm Bureau-Mississippi contest.

The Saturday afternoon general session will begin at 2 p.m. and will feature the keynote address by Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

That session will be followed by a Safety Conference and then an Environmental Conference dealing with the problem of invasive species and feral hogs.

Sunday afternoon will feature the recognition and awards program, in which individual county Farm Bureaus are recognized for their work during the past year. The Distinguished Service Award and the Excellence in Leadership Award will also be presented at this session along with the Friend of Agriculture Award.

The final general session will be at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6, highlighted by the announcement of the winners of the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award and the Discussion Meet.

The business session will take place on Monday, Dec. 7, at 8 a.m. The annual report will be delivered by Waide to be followed by the adoption of the resolutions that form Farm Bureau’s policy book and the election of officers and directors.