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The Delta moves on

MBJ Editorial

“Tell about the South. What’s it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all.”

— William Faulkner,

Absalom, Absalom

If you talk about the South, eventually, you will talk about the Delta. You must talk about “the most Southern place on earth.” And not too many years ago, that talk would quickly turn to cotton. Today, it’s more likely to be corn, catfish and computers.

Agribusiness is big business in the Delta and throughout Mississippi. In 1997, it had an estimated impact of about $20 billion dollars. According to the state’s ag commissioner, the future of Mississippi agriculture looks even brighter.

“Our agricultural economy in Mississippi is very strong right now, and that should continue,” said Dr. Lester Spell Jr. “I recently attended an agriculture summit meeting where national experts talked about the future and Mississippi was in a very good position.”

And the future of the Delta looks brighter, too.

Economic development efforts that capitalize on the Delta’s agrarian heritage — but that don’t depend so heavily on the whims of nature and fortune — are quickly paying dividends. And hopefully, the crushing poverty of the region will be eroded by prosperity.

The problems of the Delta — and of all the state for that matter — are complex, but in looking toward a better tomorrow, it’s quite obvious that Mississippians will persevere.

That’s why we live here.

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