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Sound Conservation Practices Benefit All Mississippians

Mississippians are blessed with great hunting grounds, an abundance of productive farmland, vibrant forests, and pristine bodies of water for fishing and boating. While I understand not all people are outdoor enthusiasts, our natural resources provide a tremendous benefit to our state’s economy and quality of life, and they are a means of improving human health. The quality of our air, drinking water and the foods we eat—along with the enjoyment nature provides—directly affect our welfare, and conservation affects us all. 

As state lands commissioner, trustee of the state’s tidelands and a lifetime Mississippian, I uphold my duty to safeguard these resources for our posterity and prosperity, which is why I created the Conservation Task Force. Our goal is to not only improve our state’s natural resources, but to use them in a responsible manner to better Mississippi.

As the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation reports, Mississippi’s 782,000 sportsmen spend approximately $2.2 billion per year. Prestigious companies like Primos, Mossy Oak, Nautic Star, Winchester and countless small businesses equip Mississippians for, and provide access to, a variety of outdoor experiences. Our state provides a great business climate for outdoor-related industries, but we can do more to attract them.   

Additionally, outdoor recreation supports 33,584 jobs in our state, not including those in forestry and agriculture (which sound management practices directly affect). Natural resources largely fuel our economy, and a more intentional approach toward conservation as an economic driver would result in an economic boom for Mississippi.

Creating Desire to Stay in Mississippi

The regional declines in the state’s population from the 2020 census is another issue we can address with the implementation of our natural resources. Millennials are leaving our state faster than any other state. We desperately need their talents at home to move our great state forward. This generation is increasingly passionate about the outdoors, I find, and is discovering more ways to enjoy them through hiking, kayaking and other activities. 

To enhance quality of life and create a desire to stay in the Magnolia State, we must ensure that current Mississippians and future generations have opportunities for outdoor recreation.

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