Program Guidelines

Genuine MS was developed by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) to promote products proudly created or produced by Mississippi farmers, artisans, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.

The purpose of the Genuine MS program is to increase public awareness of Mississippi’s farm, food, crafted and fabricated products by branding them as Genuine MS and to provide a centralized website to display members’ products and stories in order to increase the sales of members’ products.

Membership Classifications

There are four classifications of membership determined by the member’s products.

  • Genuine MS Grown
    This classification consists of farmers who grow everything from produce, nuts and row crops to horticulture and timber here in Mississippi.
  • Genuine MS Raised
    This classification consists of farmers, ranchers and fishermen with animals raised in Mississippi or selling products from animals raised in Mississippi.
  • Genuine MS Crafted
    This classification consists of crafters whose products are hand-created in Mississippi from agricultural products. Genuine MS Crafted includes specialty foods and beverages and pet and artisan products.
  • Genuine MS Made
    This classification consists of manufacturers whose products are made in the state for the benefit of Mississippi’s number one industry, agriculture. Only products in which 51% or more is manufactured in Mississippi may qualify for Genuine MS Made membership.

There is also an Associate Membership classification for businesses and organizations that support the Genuine MS program.

  • Associate Member
    This classification consists of those that support Mississippi agriculture and the members of Genuine MS even if they don’t have their own products to brand. These include retailers who sell Genuine MS products, restaurants who serve dishes that incorporate Mississippi agricultural products, farmers markets with local Mississippi farmers, agritourism operations that offer a genuine experience, and organizations and associations that support Mississippi agriculture.

Eligibility Requirements

Genuine MS applicants must meet or exceed all membership criteria within one of the following classifications. Applicants may qualify for multiple classifications depending on the nature of the products.

Genuine MS Grown

  1. Genuine MS Grown products may include, but are not limited to:
    • Grains, Grasses, Fiber
    • Produce
    • Horticulture
    • Nuts
    • Timber
  2. Only products grown in Mississippi may qualify for Genuine MS Grown and display the Genuine MS Grown logo.
  3. Members and their products must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  4. Processed products must be processed in a Mississippi facility, unless granted written permission by the Genuine MS program manager.
  5. Genuine MS Grown members must have at least one (1) business office or farming operation in Mississippi.

Genuine MS Raised

  1. Genuine MS Raised products may include, but are not limited to:
    • Meat Products
      • Beef, Pork, Poultry, Specialty Meats
    • Aquaculture
    • Seafood
    • Dairy
    • Bees and Honey
    • Eggs
    • Livestock and Poultry
  2. Only products raised in Mississippi may qualify for Genuine MS Raised and display the Genuine MS Raised logo.
  3. Members and their products must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  4. Processed products must be processed in a Mississippi facility, unless granted written permission by the Genuine MS program manager.
  5. Seafood must be wild-caught from the Gulf of Mexico and come through a Mississippi port or dock.
  6. Genuine MS Raised members must have at least one (1) business office or farming operation in Mississippi.

Genuine MS Crafted

  1. Genuine MS Crafted products may include, but are not limited to:
    • Specialty Foods and Beverages
      Examples of these products include sweets and baked goods, artisanal meats and cheeses, jams, jellies, canned goods, snack foods, sauces, spices and dressings.
    • Artisan Products
      Examples of these products include wood products, pottery, candles, soaps, oils and cosmetics.
    • Pet Food and Pet Items
  2. Only products crafted by Mississippi companies using agricultural components and/or natural resources may qualify for Genuine MS Crafted and display the Genuine MS Crafted logo.
  3. Members and their products must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  4. Processed products must be processed in a Mississippi facility, unless granted written permission by the Genuine MS program manager.
  5. Genuine MS Crafted members must have at least one (1) business office or farming operation in Mississippi.

Genuine MS Made

  1. Genuine MS Made products include goods manufactured for the benefit of the agriculture industry.
  2. Only products in which 51% or more is manufactured in Mississippi may qualify for Genuine MS Made and display the Genuine MS Made logo.
  3. Members and their  products must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  4. Final products must be manufactured at a Mississippi-based facility.
  5. Genuine MS Made members must have at least one (1) manufacturing facility in Mississippi.

Associate Membership

  1. Eligible businesses or organizations that support the Genuine MS program may qualify as an Associate Member. This classification includes, but is not limited to:
    • Associations and Institutions
    • Restaurants
    • Retailers
    • Farmers Markets
    • Agritourism Operations
  2. In order for a restaurant to be eligible as an Associate Member, the restaurant must use Mississippi-sourced ingredients.
  3. In order for a retailer to be eligible as an Associate Member, the retailer must sell Genuine MS products.
  4. In order for a farmers market to be eligible as an Associate Member, the farmers market must consist of Mississippi farmers selling Mississippi agricultural products.
  5. Associate Membership in the Genuine MS program will be declined if the organization specifically attempts to disparage the mission and goals of the Genuine MS program.

Membership Fee

A membership fee of $75 is due upon application approval. This fee, which is due annually as part of the membership renewal, is used to market and promote the Genuine MS Program and its members.

Application Process

Application

  1. Those interested in joining Genuine MS must submit the online application found at GenuineMS.com. Contact the Market Development Division of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce at info@genuinems.com or 601-359-1159 if you have questions or encounter any problems.
  2. Those signing up for the program will need to complete the appropriate application. There are two applications.  Associate Members will complete a different application than Genuine Members that have products that are Grown, Raised, Crafted and/or Made.

Review of Application and Member Registration

  1. Applications are subject to an approval process and will be reviewed by MDAC.
  2. Applicants will be notified within seven (7) business days as to whether or not the application is approved. At this time, approved applicants will receive notification to pay the membership fee of $75. Registration will be complete when payment is received.
  3. MDAC reserves the right to change any information provided on the member profile in order to comply with MDAC policy. It is our policy not to display comments that contain obscene, indecent, or profane language; contains threats or defamatory statements; contain hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability; endorse services or products.
  4. If an application is not approved, appeals may be requested in writing to the Genuine MS manager.

Usage of the Genuine MS logo

  • Permission to use the Genuine MS logo will be granted upon MDAC approval of the membership application.
  • The Genuine MS logo(s) can only be used by members of the program.
  • The Genuine MS logo(s) must be used in accordance to the specifications provided by MDAC.
  • The Genuine MS logo(s) can only be used on products that qualify for the program and on the products’ marketing and point-of-sale materials. Marketing and point-of-sale materials do not include promotional merchandise and souvenirs.
  • Products that are not grown, raised, crafted and/or made in Mississippi may not be shipped or sold in packages bearing the Genuine MS logo.
  • Member profile and products will be under continual review by MDAC in order to certify the Mississippi origins of the products and appropriate use of the logo.

Membership Benefits

Benefits of Genuine MS membership include:

  • Logo usage – Participants will be able to use the Genuine MS logo on products that qualify for the program, packaging and promotional materials. The logo identifies the products as being a Genuine MS product.
  • Website profile – Members will have a profile on the GenuineMS.com website which will contain information about Genuine MS products, the stories behind these products, contact information for the members, links to website and social media, and a listing of places to purchase the products, as well as pictures of the products.
  • Members will be given password protected access to their website profiles so they can update their profiles as often as they like. Updates made to the profiles will be reflected on the website upon MDAC approval, typically within two (2) business days.
  • MDAC will promote the program through advertising, social media, highlights in the Mississippi Market Bulletin, as well as through participation in special events to encourage consumers and buyers to purchase products made, grown, raised or crafted in Mississippi. The message will drive consumers and buyers to the website to find Mississippi products.

Penalty

  • Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association who violates any provision herein, gives false information in the application process, misrepresents their certifications in the application process, or uses the Genuine MS logo on a product not registered with the Genuine MS program or not of Mississippi origin, shall be subject to a suspension of his/her authority to use the Genuine MS logo and can be expelled from the Genuine MS program.
  • An applicant who is denied registration or member who is subject to suspension or expulsion from the Genuine MS program may request an administrative hearing. The request should be in writing and filed with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce within twenty (20) days of the denial.