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Mississippi tourism and chickpeas

Here are some notes and quotes from the last week …

 I seriously wonder what the new legislation passed and co-sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will do to help tourism in Mississippi.

The legislation “would revitalize federal efforts to attract more foreign tourists to the United States and counter the steep decline in international travel following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

But what would it do for Mississippi?

I am asking the question, only.

This should be looked into more closely, particularly since blues and country music tourism are of high priority to the Mississippi Development Authority.

Ask Billy Johnson of the Highway 61 Blues Museum what tourism means to his operation in Leland as well as the rest of the Mississippi Delta, and even the rest of Mississippi.

I am glad that Sen. Cochran sponsored this bill, but I am more hopeful this will be a tool for us to bring more tourists and more money to all of Mississippi.

 

Tastes a lot like chickpeas

As I waited at Sal and Mookie’s in Jackson for my pizza to take home to the family, I sat down with a soft drink and reached into bowl of nuts. … Not peanuts, but chickpeas. … It reminded me of the story I read in the most recent edition of Time about cotton.

Yes, cotton.

While we have been writing off the South’s cash crop for the last decade, it appears scientists have been having other ideas.

According the Time article, “It’s as true in today’s world as it was in the antebellum South: cotton is king.”

Could it be?

Well, for more than 7,000 years, cotton has mostly been used for its fiber. Apparently, however, cotton seed is rich in protein. And protein could help feed lots of people, right?

Yup, except cotton has a chemical in it that is toxic. The toxic “gossypol” actually helps repel insects from the plant while it is growing. You remove the gossypol, you remove any chance of having cotton in the first place.

Until now.

Scientists, according to this article, have found a way to remove the toxic chemical, yet preserve the insect-fighting abilities.

So, now you could have a “cheap and an abundant form of protein for everyone.”

Great for the South, right?

Great for Mississippi right?

More cotton demand, means higher prices, which means better times for farmers, which might even mean better times for the Delta and Southwest Mississippi, right?

My only question is, did we get away from cotton too soon? Do we still have the infrastructure (cotton gins) to take on a heavy demand for cotton again?

I don’t know the answer, but as I sat at Sal and Mookie’s, I thought about that last paragraph of the story in time, which read, “Genetically modified cottonseeds will need government approval before they hit grocery shelves, and they’re more likely to be used first to supplement fish or animal feed. But with the global population still on the rise and farmland limited, the planet can use free protein. And you might even like it. “It’s not bad,” says (the scientist that made this cottonseed discovery), who has popped a few seeds. “Tastes like chickpeas.”

 

Contact MBJ managing editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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