Delta Business Journal
Senator Hyde-Smith Visits the Delta
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith conducted a series of meetings on February 19 in the Mississippi Delta, meeting with elected leaders and others to promote regional economic growth and tourism. The Senator’s agenda included stops in Coahoma, Washington, and Sunflower counties with stops at the Delta Blues Museum, the Grammy Museum, and the Saf-T-Cart plant and PeopleShores in Clarksdale. A highlight to the day included remarks at the Economic Development Workshop for Elected Officials, hosted by Delta Strong and Cooperative Energy. Hyde-Smith cited the President’s recent trade agreement signings as a positive for the outlook of agriculture and Mississippi product exports around the world. The Senator also highlighted her ongoing work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA to greenlight the Yazoo Backwater Area Pump project. The Senator, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittees that fund the Army Corps and EPA praised the recent approval of $7.5 million for the Yazoo Backwater project, which could help clear the way for eventual construction of the long-awaited South Delta flood control project.
Also of interest:
- Washington County: FY2020 Energy and Water Development (E&W) portion of the comprehensive appropriations bill signed in December provided $930,000 for dredging at Greenville Harbor. Without it, approximately 650 jobs with an annual payroll of $26 million would be lost. Port provides dependable, reliable means to move important MS commodities.
- USDA ARS: The comprehensive appropriations bill also provided Agriculture Research Service funding which support ag research in Stoneville, Miss.
- Delta Catfish Industry Support: Senator Hyde-Smith recently asked the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure illegal catfish products are not imported into the United States by Asian countries. The FSIS recently recalled ready-to-Eat “salted egg fish skins” and “fried crispy fish skin snacks” which violate U.S. law.
- Sunflower and surrounding counties: Army Corps 2020 Work Plan provides an additional $2.9 million for the Big Sunflower River Project, funding above monies in the FY2020 comprehensive appropriations bill. This project is focused on reduces flooding in mid-Delta, and keeps sediment, fertilizer and pesticides out of Delta streams to benefit water quality.
- Coahoma County: FY2020 E&W provides $30 million for Delta Regional Authority, headquartered in Clarksdale. The budget request sought to zero out DRA funding.
- Delta Health Care: Agriculture portion of FY2020 bill provides $3 million via USDA Rural Development for grants to benefit entities like Delta Health Alliance in Leland to help provide unmet heath needs in rural areas.
- Regulatory relief: Senator Hyde-Smith fully supports Trump administration regulatory relief that would benefit agricultural and community interests. Changes to the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA would, for example, mean reducing the time to complete environmental reviews for public works like highways or flood control infrastructure. Replacing the Obama-era Waters of the United States regulation reestablishes the ability of states—not the federal government—to regulate water in agricultural and roadside ditches, prior converted cropland, storm water control projects, and waste treatment plants.
Senator Hyde-Smith has served in office since 2018. She was previously the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and a member of the Mississippi State Senate.