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Building Resiliency!

October 28, 2020

Many if not all publications and emails from various sources I read talk about "Building Resiliency" on farms as well as building resilient immune systems to better avoid sicknesses.

But what does this mean? Well, building suggest you have made a conscious decision to do something different. As it relates to farming or our health it can mean taking a different path than the conventional methods out there.

Resiliency is a noun and means the power or ability of a material to return to its original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. The ability of a person to adjust to or recover readily from illness, adversity, major life changes, etc.

Stay with me here - Did you know Mississippi is the most regulated state in the South?

In 2018, as part of a national review of state regulations, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University found Mississippi has nearly 118,000 regulatory restrictions on the books. All told, the state code book includes 9.3 million words, and it would take about 13 weeks to read if all one did was read regulations as a full-time job.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) sent a really neat email titled "Our regulatory burden is more than a number" where they put a name and face to a dozen or so people who have skills to start a small business, but the regulatory burden is to great. Some examples include:

Entrepreneurs like Donna Harris who want to start a business to provide weight loss advice, healthy recipes, and grocery list recommendations can be sent to jail for six months and fined $1,000 if they don’t complete 1,200 hours of unnecessary training.

Cottage food operators who would like to sell food they make at home are limited in what they can sell, how they can sell it, and what they can earn. 

Nurse practitioners who would like full practice authority must enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician if they would like to open their own clinic. 

Farmers like the Bailey’s and Beal’s can’t sell raw cow milk to willing consumers. We can sell goat milk, but you can’t have 10 or more goats and you can’t advertise online. And some in the legislature even tried to outlaw that this past session. 

We don’t allow small poultry producers to sell to grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other institutions even though the federal government has said it’s fine.

You may be surprised to know that Mississippi is technically a "FOOD DESERT" because we import $8.5 BILLION in food from outside our state to feed our population. This figure exceeds our total agriculture value by more than a billion dollars.

Why is it that way? I believe it has a lot to do with over regulation that prohibits entry of new (often young) people who are looking for an opportunity.

The MCPP also stated that Mississippi had a negative domestic migration rate of 3.6 last year, meaning for every 100 residents that moved to Mississippi, 103.6 left. Louisiana was the only other southern state with a negative rating. People move to other places because of opportunity. And there are policies the state can adopt that would put Mississippi ahead of the curve when it comes to national policy and positioning the state to be competitive nationwide. And it begins with moving away from a desire to overregulate commerce and embolden government bureaucrats. They talk about that in their policy guide book, The High Road to Freedom.

I believe our state legislators should be challenged to see just how many of these 118,000 regulatory restrictions can be deleted or amended so our folks can find opportunity here! We do not need more regulations or embolden government bureaucrats!

Ben Simmons

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