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Sweet potato committee established

JACKSON — The growers of sweet potatoes in Mississippi now have an advisory committee that will help them deal with issues facing their industry.

After requests by eight county Farm Bureaus, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) state board of directors voted to form an official MFBF Sweet Potato Advisory Committee. The committee will help develop policies that will affect the state’s sweet potato producers and will work to promote the state’s sweet potato industry.

“This new producer advisory committee will give sweet potato growers a larger voice in the Farm Bureau policy development process,” said Farm Bureau president David Waide. “With the challenges they face in the industry concerning labor and suitable risk management products, we feel that this committee will be key in surfacing and addressing issues like this for their industry.”

Mississippi grew 19,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2009 but a disastrous weather year caused producers to lose 75 percent of their crop which normally brings in about $70 million a year.

Mississippi ranks second in the nation in sweet potato production.

“Sweet potatoes are really on the upswing in Mississippi but the future hinges on how farmers recover from last year,” said Randle Wright, Sweet Potato Advisory Committee chairman. “This committee will put Farm Bureau in a position to emphasize the needs of the small farmer.”

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