The 72nd Delta Council annual meeting will be held Friday, May 18, and will include a featured address by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Chambliss will speak at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University. He will be introduced by his friend and colleague Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Other activities include an analysis of congressional and state political races by political analyst Stu Rothenberg, a salute to Delta honor graduates by Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, and the annual catfish luncheon on the grounds of the DSU Quadrangle.

“We are pleased that Sen. Chambliss will address the members and special friends of Delta Council at our 71st meeting,” said Delta Council President Tom Gary of Greenwood, Miss. “When it comes to agriculture, Saxby Chambliss is among a small handful of leaders whose knowledge and insight into rural and agricultural policy and processes is so keen that the rest of Congress will rely on him for guidance.

“As we enter the debate on the re-authorization of farm policy, his support for rural and agricultural development, not only in the South but across the entire United States, will be critical for the economy of the Mississippi Delta.”

Chambliss, a native of Warrenton, N.C., is the ranking minority member on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He also serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Rules Committee.

Before being elected to the Senate in 2002, Chambliss was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he first distinguished himself as a strong advocate for U.S. agriculture and rural development. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee College of Law, he was a practicing attorney in Moultrie, Ga., before his election to the House in 1994.

“The combination of leadership between Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. Saxby Chambliss is certain to go a long way in representing the interest of Southern agriculture,” said Gary. ”These two members of Congress have served us well in the past and they are positioned to be two of the most prominent players in this year’s farm bill debate.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Delta Council will honor the top achievers from high schools throughout the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of northwest Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck will announce the Delta honor graduates who have been selected for the recognition by their school administrations. Sixty-six area high schools send honor graduates to the Delta Council event.

Etonne Mack, Yazoo City, Miss., who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, was named the top honor graduate in 2006. He received a $2,000 award toward college tuition.

Delta Council will also be recognizing Deltans who have made significant contributions in other critical areas of Delta life. The 2007 Good Middling Lady will be awarded to Lynne Moses of Cary, Miss., for her contributions to the Delta region.

The Delta Council annual meeting will be held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center, Delta State University, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Chambliss’ keynote address is scheduled to conclude at noon, when Delta Council members and guests will move to the DSU quadrangle for a fried catfish lunch on the grounds.

The meeting this year is sponsored by BankPlus, Delta Regional Medical Center, KBH Corporation, Land Banks of Mississippi, Morgan Keegan, and Jimmy Sanders.