"I do need to flesh out some of those concerns. They are valid," he said.
He promised he would hear out farmers from across the state.
"I think we are definitely wanting to listen. We don't want to decimate one of the largest industries in the state."
The goal should be "a happy medium," he said.
Immigration law opponent state Rep. Jim Evans, D-Jackson, said he is not counting on Fillingane and other immigration hard-liners to meet halfway on the issue.
"There's always room for compromise if you have got reasonable people involved," he said, but added: "The other side has shown no room for reason."
Evans, an AFL-CIO organizer and board president of the Mississippi Immigrants' Rights Alliance, said businesses in the state, especially agricultural ones, may be willing to team up to defeat another attempt at an immigration law. A broad coalition beat back last year's attempt and is likely to try for a repeat, Evans said.
"We've had close contacts with the business sector. They've got a vested interest."
Knight said his members will insist on resistance.
"We'll do everything we can in the Farm Bureau to limit the legislation or to get some improved legislation where we can keep the labor force."
He said his organization is not opposed to a "good program that will stop some of the illegal immigrants from coming in."
What has occurred in recent times in Georgia and Alabama should bolster the argument for a more moderate approach to immigration control, Knight said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.