Tom Gary Jr., a farmer and manufacturer from Greenwood, Miss., became president of the Delta Council at the organization's 71st annual meeting at the Delta State University campus in Cleveland, Miss.
Gary is a partner in Wildwood Farms and president of Wildwood Gin Inc., which processes waste cotton fibers into textile products. Both are based in Greenwood in Leflore County.
“Tom has been a strong and consistent leader in Delta Council in areas such as flood protection, farm policy, cotton ginning, and running the Delta Council membership campaign in Leflore County,” said outgoing Delta Council President Kent Wyatt, former president of Delta State.
“As we embark on the debate over national farm policy and U.S. trade negotiations, Tom Gary has the unique qualities and leadership to carry the Delta's message.”
In accepting the gavel from Wyatt, Gary acknowledged that his family has a long history of involvement with the Delta's “Chamber of Commerce” and its many activities aimed at improving the quality of life in the Delta.
“I was 15 years old when I first asked the Delta Council for help,” said Gary, whose grandfather served as one of the early presidents of the organization in 1941. “I was writing a school term paper, and my Dad took me to Stoneville to interview the late B.F. Smith.
“All the way over from Greenwood and back my Dad told me what the Delta Council did for the Delta. So now it's my turn to ask you for your help. Whether you're a farmer or lucky enough to have a steady, paying job, the Delta Council needs you.”
A former chairman of Delta Council's Flood Control Committee and a vice president of Delta Wildlife, Gary has served as the Delta Council membership chairman in Leflore County.
In addition, he is chairman of the Leflore County Farm Service Agency Committee, commissioner and treasurer of the Leflore County Soil and Water Conservation Commission, director of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, a director of the Cotton Board and a director of Farmers Supply Cooperative.
Gary and his wife, the former Moxie McElroy of Greenwood, have two children. His son, Lawson, is involved in the farming and processing operation, and daughter, Shelly, is in the hospitality industry in Nashville. They are members of the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, where Gary serves as an elder.
Also serving with Gary in 2006-07 will be Vice Presidents Ronnie Aguzzi of Cleveland, Jerry Caffey of Lambert, Bill Crump of Schlater, Don Green of Clarksdale, George King of Chatham, Matt McGregor of Indianola, and Nancy Virden of Rolling Fork. Rusty Bennett of Clarksdale will serve as treasurer.