Honoring a Legacy: Friends and colleagues recount Farm Credit System veteran’s impact on Mississippi ag

A newly retired Farm Credit System employee recently took home a big award — and to celebrate, the Mississippi Farm Bureau talked with some of his closest friends about his contributions to agriculture.

Upon his retirement, Farm Credit System veteran Sells Newman received a prestigious award celebrating his 40 years of dedication and unwavering commitment to agriculture. His willingness to travel to Washington, D.C., walk the halls of Congress, and advocate for the needs of Mississippi farmers has made him a respected ambassador for the state’s agriculture industry.

As Mississippi Farm Bureau engaged in conversations with some of his closest friends at the recent celebration, Newman’s passion for farming and Mississippi agriculture is evident. However, as agriculture continues to occupy the centering narrative in his life, it is also clear Newman’s journey is not over yet as he continues to play a crucial role as the Senior Vice President at First South Farm Credit.

Growing up on his family’s farm near Crystal Springs, Newman grasped the importance of agriculture from an early age.

“My dad was in the lumber business, had some cattle, and planted cotton,” Newman said, reflecting on his upbringing. “I was raised around it. It was an agricultural town, and I absolutely loved it. I always wanted a career there.”

Despite his substantial contributions to Mississippi agriculture, he remains humble, recognizing the good fortune of being surrounded by the agriculture industry.

“I don’t consider myself to be an ambassador,” he said, modestly. “I certainly appreciate and am very humbled that somebody chose me for this position.”

Mississippi Farm Bureau sought insights from his closest friends and colleagues in order to delve deeper into what makes him such an indispensable advocate for agriculture. In those conversations, they paint a picture of a man who is not only passionate about agriculture but has an extraordinary ability to communicate the needs of farmers.

From the State capitol to our Nation’s capitol, Newman’s influence is both felt and respected. Colleagues praised his ability to reinforce the importance of Mississippi State University’s work in research, extension, and teaching, advocating for the vital role it plays in garnering support for Mississippi farmers.

“When I think of Sells, I think of someone who has a strong passion,” said Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University. “He is passionate about agriculture, about farmers, and seeing them have an opportunity to be successful in production.”

Another echoes this sentiment, highlighting Newman’s commitment to serving farmers and ensuring they have the resources needed for successful crop production and his passionate commitment to farmers extending beyond the borders of Mississippi, and also making him a well-known figure in Washington, D.C.

“Sells is known for getting the job done and uniting organizations as one voice for the betterment of all Mississippi agriculture,” said livestock producer Kipp Brown.

In the words of his friends, Newman’s legacy is not just about the past 40 years but about the ongoing commitment and passion he brings to Mississippi agriculture. His story, though humble, is one of continuous dedication to the betterment of farmers and the agriculture industry in the state.

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