Guests came in from across the nation to hear the latest from the Delta’s leading regional business and agriculture organization.
Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, was the honored keynote speaker for the event.
"There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with agriculture than there is today," addressed Stabenow. "We need more bright minds and leaders to choose to go into every aspect of agriculture."
Stabenow praised American agriculture and said the nation has a thriving food supply thanks to the dedicated workers across the country that upholds the industry.
"We are blessed with the people who get up, go to work and produce more with less," she said. "I don't think we have an economy unless we grow things and make things."
Stabenow, who has served in the United States Senate for 13 years, connected with the crowd by saying her home state of Michigan has more in common with Mississippi than meets the eye.
She cited the musical talents of both states; the quality agricultural programs at state universities; and also applauded the superior agricultural industries by saying "between both states we grow it all."
Stabenow also shed light on this week's news of the Senate and House agriculture committees' approval of separate versions of the 2013 farm bill. The full Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.
Both five-year bills would cost almost $100 billion annually, with nearly $80 billion of that annual total going to domestic food aid. The Senate bill would save about $2.4 billion yearly from current spending, and the House bill would save almost $4 billion, including about $600 million saved in each bill due to across-the-board spending cuts that kicked in earlier this year.
Stabenow said the bill was a step in the right direction for job growth, economic stability and opportunities for research.
"I think this farm bill will be the biggest jobs bill we'll ever pass," she said.
She praised committee ranking member and Mississippi Senator Rep. Thad Cochran, also in attendance, for his leadership within the Senate Ag Committee.
Among other special guests present Friday were Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and new DSU president Bill LaForge.
A number of awards were presented including the 2013 Good Middling Lady award, which recognizes individuals who make significant efforts to promote community and economic vitality in the Mississippi Delta.
Betty Lynn Cameron of Greenville received the honor this year.
Also, over 100 Delta Honor Graduates were nominated by their school administrators based on academic achievement and community involvement.
Naomi Taylor, a graduating senior of Desoto Central High School in Southaven was named the 2013 Top Honor Graduate. With this award, Taylor was presented a $2,500 scholarship that she will put towards her education at Mississippi State University.
Bolivar County Honor Graduates included: Laura Hayden Bowen, Bayou Academy; TeKierra Bush, East Side High; Lavenus Dudley, East Side High; Maleena Frazier, Broad Street High; April Harris, John F. Kennedy High; William Hawkins, Cleveland High; Mary Parker Janoush, Cleveland High; Regina Johnson, John F. Kennedy High; Antwanette Keys, Broad Street High; Fatima Leaks, West Bolivar High; Jasmine McRoy, Shaw High; Michael Portner, Bayou Academy; Shannon Smith, Ray Brooks; Dalvin Williams, West Bolivar High; Demerrius Williams, Shaw High; and Tericka Wright, Ray Brooks.
Other 2012-2013 Achievement Awards are as follows:
*Outstanding Rice Producer — Murrell Farms
*Outstanding Soybean Producer — Bill Ryan Tabb
*Outstanding Cotton Ginner — Herbie Kirk
*Conservation Farmer — Pete Hunter
*Outstanding Contributions to Hardwood Forestry: Dr. Steve Meadows
*Researcher of the Year: Dr. Lawrence Young
*Outstanding Membership Chairmen — Merlin Richardson, Paul Hollis and Clifton Porter
Outgoing Delta Council President Bill Litton also passed the torch to the organization's 78th president, Gibb Steele of Greenwood.
"This is a happy day for me. I look forward to my term as president of the Delta Council," said Steele.
"The scope of the work of the Delta Council touches on all aspects of the Delta's economy."
The morning kicked off with a Delta 1000 political presentation from Stu Rothenberg, an analyst from Washington, D.C. He provided a summary of current politics and an overview of the 2012 presidential election.
The celebration came to a close as it does every year with a large catfish luncheon in DSU's historic quad, which was pushed to perimeter streets due to early rain soaking the green.