The development of local business and investments in local economies is what has been building towns around Mississippi for decades. Yazoo County is no exception, as it was built up by partnerships between local government officials and entrepreneurs. This county has seen many businesses come and go, but one newly elected county supervisor has a vision of investing in the future by working proactively to bring more businesses, industry, and jobs to Yazoo County.
David Shipp is the newly elected Supervisor for District 4 in Yazoo County. He is the proud husband of Cindy Shipp, father to Patrick (Morgan) Shipp, Thomas (Beth) Shipp, and Cecelia (Weathers) Virden.
Shipp has been living in the Midway community of District 4 for 59 years and has invested his life there as a farmer and a landowner.
Shipp is a class of 1978 graduate of Manchester Academy and attended school at Holmes Junior College in 1979 before returning home to Midway to work on the family farm.
Shipp farmed cotton, soybeans, and managed cattle until his father passed away in 1991.
After that, Shipp and his wife Cindy formed a partnership and have been farming ever since, expanding the business into cotton, corn, soybeans, and a few heads of cattle.
Shipp is a dedicated member of over 20 years of Blackjack Baptist Church in the Linwood/Vaughan community, where he is a Deacon and serves on church boards and other programs.
He was also a member of the school board at Benton Academy for 18 years, and served as its president for three years.
In the past, Shipp served on the Tri-County Co-Op board and is currently an active member with the Midway Volunteer Fire Department.
Shipp said that he decided years ago to run for the office of supervisor because he wanted to make a difference to improve Yazoo County. After falling in a close race in a previous special election for the District 4 seat seven years ago, he decided to try again in 2019.
"I decided to run because I care about Yazoo County, and I want to see it go forward," he said. "I would like to see more industry come into Yazoo County because that could help with our tax base and draw in more money. That way we could afford to do some repairs on all these roads that are in such bad shape."
As a fellow landowner and farmer, Shipp said that he doesn't want his taxes to continue going up, so he plans to do everything he can to bring industry here as a way to give Yazoo County another source of revenue.
"I know the money has got to some from somewhere to operate this county, but you can't keep going to your landowners and raising the taxes," he said. "It's going to end up forcing people to sell land in order to pay the higher taxes, and you don't want to do that."
Shipp said that he has been watching how other towns have been adding major developments along the Interstate 55 corridor and said that there may be potential for Yazoo County to expand eastward in order to capitalize on that area of travel.
"People are not coming to Yazoo City; they want to be where they can get on the interstate," he said. "It's easy access to where you can go north to Memphis, or south to New Orleans. I think we need to get the ball rolling and start doing something because developments are coming north out of Madison, and we can't just sit back and do nothing."
Shipp said that he plans to be proactive and talk with the rest of the Board of Supervisors about what could be done to bring another industrial area into Yazoo County, among other money-making ventures that would build up the tax base, add jobs and draw more people into the area.
"There has been some talk about parks and recreation and working together to fix up the complex, but there has also been some talk about the county pulling out and building its own park somewhere else," he said. "I would like to see the city and the county work things out if we could. I know that having a well-maintained park could bring in those big ball tournaments, which draws people into the county who spend money here, eat and stay in the hotels. We need to do something to get the ball rolling on that before it's too late."
Shipp said that investing in Yazoo County and working with bigger industries could bring more jobs to Yazoo County and keep people working here in the county instead of losing them to other towns.
"If this works and we are able to add another industrial area to the county, then you are looking at selling multiple lots out there, and your land values will go up, which would increase the taxes you are bringing in," Shipp said. “That would really help us out a lot.”
Other areas of interest that Shipp wants to address are dilapidated roads in his district, which extends into the northern part of Yazoo County and stretches from the Highway 49 area leading out of Yazoo City near WalMart and C.F. Industries, and continues into the areas of Eden, Renshaw Road, Midway, Graball-Freerun Road and Wildwood Terrace.
"We have a lot of old roads in our district that were put in years ago where they just poured some tar and rock down and made it into a blacktop road," he said. "A lot of those roads have deteriorated and are so rough that we are maybe thinking of turning them back into gravel where they will be easier to maintain. If we can get some more money, my intention is to fix more of those high traffic roads where there are more people traveling to and from town."
Shipp said that aside from roads, he is also working to clean up storm damage in recently affected areas, and to clean out ditches in places where flooding has become an issue.
Shipp said that he plans to work with the rest of the Supervisors on these and other projects and also plans to contact and work with state and federal representatives, as well as the Yazoo County Economic Development District and Central Mississippi Development District to help find grants and other new ways to invest and improve Yazoo County.
Shipp said that it takes time to bring in positive change and improvements and only asks that citizens offer their patience and support as they work to make Yazoo County a better place.
"There is a lot of stuff that needs to be done," he said. "I just want folks to be patient with us and work with us. We are going to try to resolve the issues the best way we can."