Lester Spell, Mississippi commissioner of agriculture and commerce, kicked off the Dixie National Rodeo with the annual “Agriculture Round-Up Report” at the Mississippi Coliseum, reporting on the current status, future, and economic impacts of Mississippi agriculture and the Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock Show.

In addition, agricultural specialists from Mississippi State University's Agricultural Economics Department, Bill Herndon, John Anderson, Terry Hanson, Ken Hood, and Gregg Ibendahl, presented outlooks for 2007 Mississippi crops.

“Agriculture significantly impacts and benefits the entire state, not just those living in rural areas. The upcoming crop year looks to present many new and exciting opportunities for our farmers across all agricultural sectors. As we look to the future, agricultural industry will continue to play a major role not only here in Mississippi, but across our country as well,” said Spell.

Outlook reports show that Mississippi will grow in areas of corn and wheat production with opportunities for increases in blueberries and sweet potatoes. Future export numbers show steady gains, and prospects for increased fruit and vegetable production still remain strong.

Agriculture is a $5.8 billion industry in Mississippi which employs approximately 27 percent of the state's workforce.