Jamie Swafford

AGUP Equipment Company, Inc.   

By Jack Criss

“I am from Cleveland and grew up the daughter of an ag pilot/farmer and public school teacher.  I went to Mississippi State University, and upon graduation I went to work for John Deere Corporate, and then moved back to Mississippi to get married and went to work for Delta & Pine Land Co. My husband is from the Gulf Coast and we have moved all over the country with his career but we landed back in Mississippi about 11 years ago because we wanted our children to experience a childhood closer to our families.”

This is how Jamie Swafford described herself after responding to an email request for this story. It’s included here because it goes to show the selflessness of this impressive woman whose resume is impressively extensive. 

Currently living south of Yazoo City with her family, Swafford now works as the marketing director for AGUP Equipment Company, Inc. Her career trajectory has brought her full circle. 

“I was actually born in Yazoo City, but say I’m from Cleveland because we moved there quickly after my birth,” says Swafford. “My dad, James Garrett, is from Shaw, who grew up on a farm picking cotton by hand, and that just goes to the fact that my whole life has revolved around agriculture. My mother, Becky, and my brother, Jay — who is 18 months younger than I am — along with my dad, provided me a bucolic childhood, really. We were always involved in the family business and worked alongside my dad in his ag business all the time.

“Dad would pick us both up from school in the afternoon during harvest and would leave us at the end of a turnrow with a sack and say, ‘Whoever picks the most cotton gets an extra candy bar at the store,’” she laughs. “After my dad got out of the ag flying business, he went into cattle farming in the early 90s when I was in high school. It was a shift for us as a family, with me graduating high school in Eupora, MS, But it was awesome and I learned so much from my parents.”

Swafford had originally wanted to go into vet school after graduation but, at 4”11 in height, she agreed with her dad that it might not be the wisest move.

“To handle larger animals — which would be hard for me — I realized in college that I needed to focus on more realistic goals, so I shifted to AG Economics as my academic pursuit,” says Swafford. “I was always good in economic studies so it was a good move.”

Swafford’s career path was determined by a visit from the John Deere corporation to the MSU campus.

“I took a job with them and worked in a variety of positions,” she says. However, Swafford, who met her husband, Seth, while in college soon moved to Washington, D.C. The couple have been married for 20 years and have two children, Caroline, 16, and Nicholas, 12. 

“After D.C. we actually lived and worked together in Colorado for three years, where Caroline was born, and them proceeded to move to Missouri  where Nicholas was born,” says Swafford. 

While in D.C., Swafford worked as a budget analyst for the USDA in the APHIS/Plant Protection Quarantine’s Germplasm Lab for a little under a year before joining the professional staff of the Appropriations Committee for the U.S House.

“When I was at USDA for nine months, I was a budget analyst before receiving the incredible opportunity of serving on the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee of Agriculture,” says Swafford. “I was hesitant at first to leave a position I had really just started, but I was encouraged by my husband — and others — to support the agency I was working for to act as a voice for them. The experience at both have benefitted me throughout my subsequent career and gave me a deep understanding of the federal budgeting process while honing my skills in building my relationships with government officials and lobbyists,” she says. “It was the best experience of my life, really.”

Swafford and her husband did want to return to their home state, however, and she is very content and happy nine years on after coming back.

“I do some freelance media work, but AGUP Equipment Company, Inc. consumes most of my life after starting with them in December, 2015,” she says. “I love this job, where I manage a team to define, manage and enhance our dealership image and brand in the market. We want to pull our weight in ways that benefit our customers and our industry as a whole.”

Swafford says she’s still always learning on the job.

“Times are different today, without a doubt,” she says. “I’m always constanly learning now in an ever-changing marketing world. But my experience has prepared me for such changes.”