Cindy Hyde-Smith was elected Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce by Mississippi voters in November 2011, following a 12-year career as a Mississippi State Senator for District 39. With her election, Hyde-Smith made Mississippi history as the first woman to ever be elected to the statewide position. She succeeds longtime Commissioner, Dr. Lester Spell, Jr., who did not seek re-election for a fifth term in office.
Elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 1999, Hyde-Smith quickly became known as a passionate advocate of farmers and ranchers in Mississippi , serving as the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee for eight years and as an influential member of numerous other committees. During her time in office, Hyde-Smith authored legislation and supported efforts to promote and protect all facets of the agriculture industry, defending private property rights, endorsing Right to Farm legislation, and working to increase Country-of-Origin labeling requirements. Also, Hyde-Smith earned the highest grade for a strong pro-business and fiscally conservative voting record from the Business and Industry Political Education Committee.
Looking forward as Commissioner of Agriculture, Hyde-Smith plans to ensure fairness and equity in the marketplace and protect Mississippians through sound regulatory practices. She said, “I am committed to making sure our state’s farmers and ranchers – the backbone of our country – can continue to provide safe food and fiber at the cheapest possible prices to the citizens of Mississippi while maintaining the utmost in consumer confidence.”
Hyde-Smith previously received numerous awards and honors for her work as a legislator and champion of agriculture, including the Agriculture Legislator of the Year Award from the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts, the Ambassador Award from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, the Achievement Award from Delta Council, and the Outstanding Service to Small Farmers Award from Alcorn State University.
She is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi and maintains close affiliations with the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Lincoln County Forestry Association, Lincoln County Livestock Association, and the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association.
Hyde-Smith and her husband Mike are the proud parents of Anna-Michael, the family’s fifth generation farmer. Together, they raise beef cattle and are partners in Lincoln County Livestock, the local stockyard auction market in Brookhaven, which has held a live cattle auction every Tuesday since 1942. She and her family currently reside in Brookhaven and are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church.