U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) told the crowd at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Delta Council that during the flooding along the Mississippi River during the past several years, the Delta did not break— it was Delta strong.
She spoke to approximately 1,000 attendees in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., on June 4. The Delta Council, which is the economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi, did not hold its annual meeting last year in Cleveland due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 annual meeting put the Delta Council back on pace for its regular in-person schedule, although smaller committee meetings have been held since pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Paul Hollis, the council's 2020/21 president opened the meeting, introduced elected officials and special dignitaries, introduced new officers and 2021-2022 President Patrick Johnson, Tunica, Miss., presented two scholarships and introduced keynote speaker Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Hyde-Smith noted that a high priority for the Lower Mississippi Delta must be flood control and ensuring that the backwater pumps project remains on track to ensure the safety of the people living and working in the area.
"There are many who have played a significant role in this effort," she said. "And I just want to say thank you to them all."
She also discussed what she called the big strides the Delta has made in the last few years including transportation improvements, telehealth, education, workforce development, agricultural research, conservation, basic public infrastructure and flood control.
"These things are key to the foundation of our economic growth and long-term sustainability," she said. "Agriculture will always be the backbone of the Delta's economy."
Achievement award winners for 2021 annual meeting
Outstanding Contributions to Delta Aquaculture
Dr. Menghe Li, Delta Research & Extension Center – MSU Stoneville, Miss.
Outstanding Contributions to Cotton Ginning
David Cochran, Jr., Avon Gin, Greenville, Miss.
Outstanding Soybean Producer
Pierce Brown, Brown Farms, Schlater, Miss.
Outstanding Contributions to Hardwood Forestry
Conner Fristoe, Weyerhaeuser Company, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Outstanding Rice Producer
Allan Grittman, Grittman Farms, Drew, Miss.
Conservation Farmer of The Year
Gary Bailey, Robinsonville, Miss.
Outstanding Contributions to Research
Dr. Jeff Gore Delta Research & Extension Center, MSU Stoneville, Miss.
Pace-Setter Award (Membership Chairman),
Scott Coopwood, Cleveland, Miss.
Good Middling Community Service
Sherilyn Jones, Inverness, Miss.
2021-2022 Delta Council Officers
- Patrick Johnson, Jr, Tunica, Miss., President
- La Shon Brooks, Itta Bena, Miss., Vice-President
- Lawson Gary, Greenwood, Miss., Vice-President.
- Jay Gore, Grenada, Miss., Vice-President
- Shaw Johnson III, Clarksdale, Miss., Vice-President.
- Johnny McRight, Greenville, Miss., Vice-President
- Tim Timbs,Indianola, Miss., Vice-President
- Craig Shideler, Senatobia, Miss., Treasurer