A Mississippi Delta farmer, hoping to spread awareness about the impacts of the expansive flooding, was denied the right to purchase a booth at the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Extravaganza this upcoming weekend. That set off a chain of events that threatens to cripple the event’s vendor participation and attendance. The event in Jackson on the first Saturday in August annually is often seen as the opening salvo of hunting season for tens of thousands of Mississippians.
Victoria Darden told the Vicksburg Daily News that she had planned to host a booth at the event–going as far as to organize volunteers and raise money for it—before she was told she was denied.
Darden claimed outgoing executive director Lindsey Lemmons made her feel as if she had the go-ahead, until being told that the booth was denied due to the “discretion” of the promoter and lack of approval from the board.
Darden did not respond to Y’all Politics for comment, however, Cathy Shropshire from MWF did respond.
“She was not denied a booth. We were sold out at the time,” said Shropshire. “To try to accommodate we said that if another vendor allowed them in their booth it was OK with us. And we contacted potential vendors who might want to accommodate them.”
On Sunday, Governor Bryant started to push.
I️ don’t understand why MWF won’t allow for this Individual to educate others on the backwater flooding issues and the pumps that could have saved a large portion of Mississippi’s acreage and wildlife from devastating flooding. Very disturbing.https://t.co/aiwJHOVx8l
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) July 27, 2019
Then, late Monday afternoon, the dam broke on the event.
Monday, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks announced that their board voted unanimously to withdraw from the event.
When asked why MWFP pulled out of the Extravaganza, Shropshire said, “I don’t know. I understand there was a press release but I have not seen it.”
Then Monday evening, the most recognizable brand in the outdoor industry, Primos, cut the cord.
Then, famous Mississippi turkey call manufacturer Preston Pittman pulled..
The Vicksburg Daily News has an ongoing list of exhibitors that are dropping by the hour including LongLeaf Camo, Backwoods Land, Sportsmans Camo Covers, Echo Calls, and more.
Even a Boycott the Extravaganza 2019 Facebook page has launched.
Political connections to Global Warming Advocacy
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF) is an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). NWF is a national wildlife and environment conservancy organization that works with legislature to find “natural” solutions to issues such as flooding, as well as confronting climate change.
In 2008, the organizations joined forces to combat the placement of pumps in the Mississippi Delta. This began the disdain between Delta residents and the MWF.
According to the NWF 2018 Action Report, the organization successfully defended against a legislative rider that would have revived the Corps of Engineers’ what the organization called “highly damaging, wetlands-destroying Yazoo Pumps Project in Mississippi” because it would have destroyed 200,000 acres of wetlands.
This is not the only action taken by the NWF, as outlined in their 2016-2017 annual financial report. This report shows over half a million dollars allocated to lobbyists.
Since then, beginning in February, half a million acres have been flooded in what has been regarded as the worst flooding since 1973. Many farmers, such as Darden, will not be planting a crop this year as their property is still underwater. This will likely cause detrimental economic fallout for years to come.
The impacts aren’t just economic. The impact on wildlife has been disastrous. Due to flooding, wildlife is dying off at such an alarming rate, either from getting hit by cars as they are forced to the roads or starvation, that deer hunting season may be suspended in the area this year.
The MWF’s Extravaganza is known as it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization. Many of the hunters and outdoorsmen who gather there will pay their admission fee to support the organization, raising money that would, in turn, be donated to the NWF. The NWF received an over $76,000 donation from the MWF in the last fiscal year.
We will update this story with additional exhibitors decisions to stay or go with the event.
UPDATE – Tuesday 7/30/19
The Vicksburg News was incorrectly identified as The Vicksburg Post in the original posting of this article. We apologize for the error.