Natchez man wins statewide nomination for Mississippi ag chief

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

NATCHEZ — Adams County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert “Brad” Bradford won the Democratic Primary election for Agriculture Commissioner in the statewide election on Tuesday.

Bradford earned 52 percent of the state vote, besting candidates Bethany Hill and Terry Rogers and avoiding a runoff election.

He will face incumbent agriculture commissioner in the Nov. 7 general election, Republican Andy Gipson, who did not have a challenger in Tuesday’s primary.

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“I feel great. We had a great primary with good contestants,” Bradford said Wednesday afternoon. “We visited lots of voters in the state and shared my plan and sowed good seeds.”

Bradford campaigned throughout the state on the weekends when he could, and used a network of ex-military soldiers, who volunteers to hand out cards and campaign for him as well in other parts of the state.

“It’s tough to run for statewide office when you have a full-time job. My campaigning was limited to weekends when we weren’t busy here doing emergency management work. I had a good group and a good game plan and lots of good help from ex-military who handed out cards for me.”

Bradford said his leadership style and passion for people set him apart and makes him the best candidate for the state’s agriculture commissioner.

“I plan to take the Mississippi Department of Agriculture to another level. It needs to be the cornerstone for our agriculture needs in the state,” he said. “We are going up against Andy Gipson and the Republican Party. The way I look at it, it’s two guys with different leadership styles and ideas on how to best help the agency. I will use the whole community approach, the way I have with emergency management.”

He plans to enhance emergency response for farmers and ranchers after disasters.

“I have an advantage. I am going to put together an agriculture response program, which will have boots on the ground with people who have experience on how to compensate. We will do disaster aid planning to help farmers get back on their feet quickly,” Bradford said.

“We will get back in the war room starting next Monday night. We are to regroup and going to start to enlarge our team beginning next week and will do strategic planning to carry us to November.”

Bradford is a fourth-generation farmer and was born and raised on his family’s farm in Isola, Mississippi, the eighth of 11 children.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in plant and soil science (agronomy) from Alcorn State University.

“I am running for this position because I believe the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce should be a revered agency that serves our state’s individual farmers and our agricultural communities and ultimately benefits all Mississippians in measurable ways at the cash register,” Bradford said in an interview after announcing his candidacy.

He said he has a vision for improving the agency.  “Currently, I serve as the Mississippi Certified Emergency Manager for Adams County. As a multi-agency coordinator, I have worked closely with most of Mississippi’s coordinating, planning, and response agencies, including during the COVID pandemic. Prior to my emergency management career, I served 25 years in the U.S. Military as an infantry officer.  “To be successful, a visionary leader must also have the action-oriented qualities of perseverance and determination to make it through difficult times and see change take effect,” Bradford said.

He said his “Sowing Good Seeds in Mississippi” campaign will foster a “whole community” approach to maximizing the potential within the agricultural and commerce industry.  “It will successfully market the product of the farming industry’s toil to serve the farmer’s and the public’s best interests,” Bradford said. “Together, we will plan new ideas, form stronger partnerships, and improve agricultural infrastructure to benefit all the hardworking agriculturalists in our great state and inspire future agriculturalists. I also believe we have a unique opportunity to provide agricultural education to the whole community to help empower farm families for self-sustainability. Finally, I believe our state has enough resources to ensure our farming families are provided for without additional taxation.  “Relying on my faith in god, and my leadership, planning, operational, fiscal oversight, coordination, and collaboration skills, I pledge to transform the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce into an agency that works for all Mississippians,” Bradford said.

For more information about Bradford’s “Sowing Good Seeds in Mississippi” campaign, see bradforagcomm24.com.