Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will be the featured guest and keynote speaker for the May 17 annual meeting of Delta Council to be held on the Delta State University campus in Cleveland, Miss. She will speak at 10:30 a.m. at DSU’s Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Stabenow has served in the Senate for 13 years and is chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee.

“In this crucial year when we are trying to write a farm bill which failed to gain passage last year, we are grateful that Chairwoman Stabenow accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker at the 78th Annual Meeting of Delta Council,” stated Bill Litton, the Leflore County businessman and agricultural leader.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry has jurisdiction over commodity programs, conservation programs, crop insurance, research and education programs, food and nutrition programs, and all agricultural marketing and food inspection programs.

“Ms. Stabenow is a capable and strong leader for agriculture, and she has one of the best committee staffs assembled throughout the committee structure of the United States Senate,” said Dan Branton, the Washington County, Miss., farmer who serves as chairman of the Farm Policy Committee of Delta Council.

Ranking Republican member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran from Mississippi, will introduce Stabenow to the Delta Council audience.

In addition to the keynote by Stabenow, Delta Council will honor more than 100 high school seniors as Delta Honor Graduates at a ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. ‘under the tent’ next to the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Dignitaries such as former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy and Delta State University President Bill LaForge will welcome the honor graduates to the Delta Council annual meeting and present them with engraved certificates recognizing them as 2013 Honor Graduates.

“The Delta Honor Graduate event is designed to raise the level of awareness of parents, teachers, and our local communities of the importance of bringing these bright young minds back to the Delta after they have completed their formal and advanced education,” said John Hilpert, who serves as chairman of the Delta Council Education and Health Policy Committee.

A fried catfish luncheon will conclude the program for the 78th annual event on the grounds of the Quadrangle on the Delta State University campus.

Sponsors for the 78th annual meeting include BankPlus, Catfish Farmers of Mississippi, Cotton Incorporated, Jimmy Sanders, Inc., Mississippi Corn Promotion Board, Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, and Southern Ag Credit/Mississippi Land Bank.