Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson was elected vice president of the Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) at the organization’s annual board of directors’ meeting this week. The meeting was held in connection with the annual business meeting of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
SUSTA is made up of the Departments of Agriculture in 15 Southern states and is chartered to facilitate exports of U.S. food and high value agricultural products by small to medium-sized companies in the region. SUSTA’s Board of Directors, comprised of the Secretaries and Commissioners of Agriculture in their member states, chose Gipson to be the organization’s vice president for the coming term.
“I am so pleased that my colleagues have invested their trust not just in me, but in Mississippi agriculture by selecting me to serve in this leadership role for Southern ag exports,” said Gipson. “One thing that was reinforced during my listening tour around the State was that exports are so important to agriculture, our State’s number one industry,” he added.
SUSTA works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in administering federal export promotion programs, especially the Market Access Program (MAP) along with investments by the States and individual companies. Gipson and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce hosted the SUSTA meeting in Biloxi July 16-18, 2018.
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SUSTA has facilitated trade between small to medium-sized southern U.S. companies and overseas importers since 1973 via the USDA’s Market Access Program and support from the Departments of Agriculture in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. SUSTA’s administrative offices are located in New Orleans.
SUSTA Press Release