By BOBBY HARRISON / Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Outgoing Farm Bureau President David Waide ended speculation Monday that he would be a candidate for statewide office in 2011, opting instead “to return to the farm and do what I love to do.”
Waide, a Clay County farmer who has headed the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation since 1996, had been widely viewed as a likely statewide candidate next year. He had done little to dispel those rumors, but had said he would announce a final decision Monday during his address to the Farm Bureau annual conference, his last as president.
Waide’s voice cracked a little as he ended his speech by telling about 400 Farm Bureau members why he would not seek political office. “After having served the Farm Bureau,” he said, “there is no position in Mississippi that would not have been a demotion.”
Waide was viewed as a possible candidate for governor, lieutenant governor or agriculture commissioner, all posts expected to be open in 2011.
He was seen as a viable candidate had he decided to run. He has a strong base of support as the outgoing head of the Farm Bureau, a group that advocates for Mississippi’s agriculture community and boasts more than 200,000 member families.
“I was surprised he did not run,” said Ronnie Jones, a Farm Bureau member from Marshall County and retired county extension agent.
B.A. Teague, a Farm Bureau member from Union County, said, “I thought he would have been a good state officeholder, but if he wants to farm that is what he should do.”
Waide said he would remain active in the political process.
He led the effort, with Farm Bureau backing, to place on the 2011 election ballot an initiative that would prevent private property from being taken for the use of another private entity.
During his final address as president, he touted the need to continue to highlight the importance of agriculture in the state and national economy and its importance to the overall well-being of the nation.
He also said Farm Bureau must continue to work to ensure the agriculture industry is not over-regulated.
He voiced opposition to legislative attempts to expand the state’s animal cruelty laws and to make the violation a felony. He said such laws would make it impossible for farmers to raise cattle and other animals for slaughter and meat production.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601)-353-3119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.