The Jasper County Farm Bureau and Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District held a luncheon last Thursday, August 13 to welcom new Mississippi State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, FSA, Michael Sullivan. They also welcomed Farm Bureau from Smith County the SWCD Commissioner, the FSA Committee and all staff members from both Smith and Jasper Counties.
Sullivan told those in attendance that the visit to the Jasper County Farm Bureau was his first as executive director. He explained that he understands the trials that many farmers are dealing with. He said that he will work on trying to get “the younger generations” interested in agriculture and appeal to “the powers that be” to let senators and congressmen know the plights of local farmers.
He said that agriculture is the largest business in Mississippi, especially the poultry industry. He told the crowd, “The farming business is one of experience, nerve and trial and error. It’s a stressful but wonderful lifestyle... We at the FSA are going to be here to help you where we can. If there is any way we can help you, we will help you.”
On, June 29, 2009, the Obama Administration announced that Michael Sullivan will serve as Mississippi State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency at the USDA. “Michael Sullivan has a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our rural communities and will help build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to rebuild and revitalize rural America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Sullivan has been a full time farmer since 1970. He operates a 2,000-acre row crop, poultry and cattle business with his brother. From 1990-1996, he worked in a variety of senior management roles at the National Furniture Market in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was responsible for the daily management and market development of the nations second largest furniture showplace. He rejoined the group in 2000 as executive director and managed the growth of the company’s market share into multiple states, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Sullivan has agricultural real estate experience and is currently a member of the Mississippi Farm Bureau, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He has dedicated many years of service to civic and charitable activities and was honored in 2005 for his efforts in raising over $2 million for the City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital in Los Angeles. Sullivan holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University.