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At Ag Appropriations Hearing, Miss. Senator Thanks Sec. Vilsack for Initial USDA Response


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today engaged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in discussing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources available to Mississippians affected by the deadly tornadoes that tore across Mississippi on Friday.


Hyde-Smith used a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the FY2024 USDA budget request to thank Vilsack for his department’s response following the tornadoes and to ask the Secretary to review disaster recovery services offered by USDA.


“First of all, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your staff reaching out to us over the weekend with the Mississippi tornadoes.  Within hours after the storm, they were reaching out to the Mississippi delegation, and I certainly appreciate that,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Seeing that devastation firsthand, we have just gone into that mode of just trying to help those people as much as we can.”


“Our heart goes out.  As a former governor, I have toured many tornado-damaged sites,” Vilsack said.  “It’s absolutely devastating to people.  They lose their home in a matter of seconds, and unfortunately, in your state, the loss of life as well.”


In addition to consulting the website and a Disaster Assistance at a Glance brochure, Vilsack encouraged Mississippi officials, businesses, farmers, and others harmed by the storm to engage with USDA Rural Development and Farm Service Agency representatives to determine assistance options.


“The Rural Development folks can be there to begin the process of figuring out, how do we rebuild, how do we create the opportunities for housing, for the community facilities that have been damaged or destroyed, what kind of resources can be available,” Vilsack explained. 


“The Farm Service folks are there, obviously, to begin the process of assessing the level of damage so that crop insurance and any risk management tools, as you well know from your experience as commissioner of agriculture down there, that we provide as quickly a response to the loss of production as possible,” he added.


Hyde-Smith also noted that USDA disaster assistance information, as well as links to help from other agencies, is available on a Tornado Relief page she added to her website on Monday.


“We’re going to recover.  There’s no doubt.  We have some great folks there,” Hyde-Smith concluded.


Read online release here. is an online news website covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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Patrice is married to Greg Boykin and they have two sons, Bradley & Alex Boykin. Patrice is a lifetime resident of Simpson County. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry where 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community and has served in several leadership roles. Patrice has been a Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 19 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. Patrice was a member of the Magee Adopt A School Program. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Patrice is a member of the Simpson County Republican Executive Committee. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year for the Simpson County School District. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.


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