Over 660 Farm Bureau members, representing Mississippi’s 82 county Farm Bureaus, recently met in Jackson, Miss., electing officers and directors and adopting policies to guide the organization’s efforts during 2008. Policies relating to national issues will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration at its annual meeting, scheduled for New Orleans in mid-January.

The delegate body identified several areas of interest as priority issues for the upcoming year, including protecting private property rights, protecting animal production practices and methods, and protecting agricultural producers from nuisance lawsuits.

Stephen and Kisha Bailey of Calhoun County, Miss., were selected Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award winners and will travel to New Orleans to represent Mississippi in the National Young Farmer Achievement Award competition. Stephen Bailey also won the state Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet.

The annual MFBF Distinguished Service Award was presented to Alan Blaine, head of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Miss.

The Excellence in Leadership Award went to Louis Breaux III of Kiln, Miss., in Hancock County for his many years of dedicated service to agriculture in Mississippi.

Meredith McCurdy of Batesville, Miss., was given the Ag Ambassador Award for her work in promoting agriculture and Mississippi.

Newly elected or re-elected directors on the MFBF Board include Jim Perkins, Iuka, Miss.; Paul Briscoe, Oxford, Miss.; Mike Ferguson, Senatobia, Miss.; L. C. Sanders, Hamilton, Miss.; Betty Mills, Winona, Miss.; Kenneth Thompson, Philadelphia, Miss.; James Ford, Taylorsville, Miss.; Jeff Mullins, Meadville, Miss.; E.A. “Pud” Stringer, Foxworth, Miss.; and Terry Estis, Lucedale, Miss.

Dott Arthur of Carthage, Miss., was re-elected for a two-year term as State Women’s Chair and Patrick Swindoll of Hernando, Miss., will sit on the board after his election as Young Farmer and Rancher Committee chairman.

In other meeting activities, Ashley Helton of Tishomingo County, Miss., a student at Mississippi State University, was selected Miss Farm Bureau for Mississippi in a competition with six other contestants from around the state. Helton will serve as a spokesperson for Farm Bureau during the next year.