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Project set to enhance Mississippi’s food security to break ground in March

Photo courtesy of Commissioner Andy Gipson

The latest economic development project coming to Mississippi was announced by Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson on Thursday.

The Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Market Complex will be located in Brandon and is set to include a food supply, storage, and distribution hub. Gipson announced an initiative called the Mississippi Strategic Agriculture Facilities Expansion (S.A.F.E.) last summer with the Market Complex being the first step in attaining long-term and widespread food security.

“It has been said that ‘Food security is national security.’ Today, we are excited to announce the first step in our S.A.F.E. Plan to create long-term food supply, storage, and distribution resiliency for all the people of Mississippi,” Gipson said in a press release.

“As I outlined at the 2023 Neshoba County Fair, I am convinced that rebuilding Mississippi’s local food supply, storage, and distribution is the critical issue we must tackle as we move Mississippi into the future. Today, I am very pleased to announce the first major step toward that vision with a new economic development project to be located in Rankin County.”

Now that the project has received approval from the Rankin County Board of Supervisors and other local officials, the Market Complex will help the Mississippi Department of Agriculture in its goal to ensure farmers’ markets can not only sell fresh products but also frozen and dried projects that can be stored at the facility.

According to the release, the Market Complex will also provide workforce development opportunities and training for Mississippi’s youth interested in pursuing a career in agriculture and commerce.

“Commissioner Gipson’s desire to bring an agriculture-focused, economic development, and tourism project to the heart of Rankin County is a testimony to the leadership of this great county who have made every effort to prepare Rankin County for success,” Rankin County Board of Supervisors President Steve Gaines said.

“I am excited most of all for the next generations of farm families who will call Rankin County home. The Genuine Mississippi Agricultural Market Complex will afford our families with any number of opportunities not currently available to them. We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Commissioner Gipson, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the city of Brandon in this effort.”

The Market Complex will be located on 153 undeveloped acres on Mississippi Highway 18. It will feature a farm-to-table experience for shoppers as well as an area for people to eat locally grown products there on-site.

Additionally, the Market Complex will include commercial wholesale food storage and processing components for distribution to other retail locations such as grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets. The project’s groundbreaking is set for March 2024.

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