Emerson wraps up farm tour with stop at First Friday Coffee

Saturday, September 6, 2008

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson began the final day of her annual agricultural farm tour with an appearance at the First Friday Coffee inside Cape Girardeau's Show Me Center.

"I have been inspired everywhere I've gone," Emerson said. "I've concentrated on visiting small, entrepreneurial operations that are the backbone of our economy. I've learned about the challenges producers are facing with finding niche products."

The farm tour included stops at farms, a winery, a greenhouse and the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo. Emerson represents the 8th Congressional District, which stretches along the Mississippi River from Ste. Genevieve County to the Arkansas border and west deep into the Ozarks.

Emerson said the farm tour is one way she stays in touch with state-of-the-art methods being used in Southeast Missouri.

Since the rising price of fertilizer and grain has affected farmers in the region, Emerson said, farmers have resorted to alternative agricultural methods. She cited a visit to the 965-acre Tiller-Cohen dairy farm near Matthews, Mo. Unlike the majority of traditional, confined dairies, the one in Matthews is pasture-based.

The cows are in the pasture the entire day, except when they are milked. Once the cows grazed in an area for a certain amount of time, they are transferred to another piece of land to allow the grass to regrow for several weeks.

"That is just one example of ways we have brought new and innovative agricultural concepts right here to Southeast Missouri," Emerson said. "And those are the methods our farmers need to incorporate to make our part of the state competitive here."

In addition to Emerson's speech, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce presented awards to the winners of Shape Up Cape. The three-month program's goal was to promote regular exercise by participants.

From May 17 to Aug. 16, people from area businesses and organizations formed teams and received points based on the type and intensity of their activity on a weekly basis. The teams were placed in three categories based on team size.

First-place team members each received $75 cash and the traveling champion trophy, second-place team members earned $35, and third-place team members were given $20.

The winner of the small team division -- made up of two to four members -- was "Sugar & Spice" from Procter & Gamble. Two teams tied for first place in the medium division for teams of five to seven members. They were LaCroix United Methodist Church's "Holy Workouts, Batman!" and Southeast Missouri State University's "Academic Achievers." The team "Ruopp's Healthy Smiles" from Ruopp and Ruopp DDS won the large teams division for eight to 10 members.


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