WATER VALLEY – Yalobusha County’s Board of Supervisors recently established something that officials there are hoping will help to provide plenty of economic development now and in the future: the Yalobusha Economic Development District (YEDD).
Lee McMinn, Yalobusha County Economic Development Foundation (YCEDF) board member and former president, said the creation of the YEDD will its newly formed Economic Development Authority legal authority to buy land and then give it to the county. Until recently, McMinn said economic development had been “ineffective.”
“There’s been a lot of tension between the southern and northern parts of the county,” he said.
But now there are members of the YCEDF from all over the county, and the efforts of those members as well as the new trustees of the YEDD are working together.
Already the county has something to show for its working together. Recently, the Mississippi Land, Water and Timber Resources board approved a $5 million grant for construction of a cattle-processing plant for Yalobusha County. The owner, Richard Hall of Franklin, Tenn., has proposed using the money to build a $30 million state-of-the-art plant that will employ 350 to 400 people and process 1,000 head of cattle per day.
Greg Jones, the new president of the YEDD, is proud of the recent results of the combined efforts of the YCEDF and the YEDD, but said the cattle processing plant is not the end of accomplishments the two entities can achieve.
“We’re actively searching for any industry we can locate and are especially interested in industry we can get from the Nissan plant,” Jones said.
Yalobusha County is in the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Commission (DRC), but funding for the DRC has not yet been able to be accessed by grant application yet. That, however, is something Jones hopes will happen soon.
Jones explained that his organization has the capacity to handle money that will go toward economic growth.
“It (the YEDD) just gives us the authority to get industrial parks going and work on grants,” he said. “I think this (cattle processing plant) is the direct result of our efforts to work together.”
Jones said creating the YEDD had to be done in order to get the plant expedited, and added, “I think this is just a catalyst for future growth.
“We’ve got a lot to offer,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of land, a lot of good locations and a lot of good people to employ here. I think this is just the beginning.”
Jones said the YEDD, for the first time in several years, has brought together all the county’s efforts toward economic development. He said working together with the YCEDF is what has to be done in order for the county to continue that trend of growth.
The YEDD was originally formed several years ago, but a new slate of officers was voted in just recently. Jones, who was formerly a board member of the YCEDF, said he and others became aware of the need for the district to be reformed again when Hall became interested in buying land in the county.
“I have all the praise in the world for our Board of Supervisors and the entire county,” Jones said. “I think everyone is behind us all the way.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.