Emerson, Brandom discuss agriculture at Jones Heritage Farms

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In a visit to Jones Heritage Farms in Jackson, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson discussed the importance of agriculture to the area and the need to ensure its prosperity. During the stop she was accompanied by state Rep. Ellen Brandom.

Emerson said one of the hardest things she faces in Washington, D.C., is educating her colleagues on the importance of agriculture. She said one thing she does to educate people about federal farm bills is write letters to the editor.

"There are 9 billion people in this world that need to get fed by 2050," she said. "We can't do it by small operations alone. You've got to have grain production. You've got to have livestock production. You've got to have milk. You've got to have all of these elements.

"There is this natural tendency on the part of the city papers to think 'I just go to the grocery store and get all of this stuff.' The impact of a good ag policy not only on our economy here in the state, but the world, is important. Agriculture is so critical. It's hard to get the metro folks to understand the complexity of agriculture and the importance of it and particularly the value added importance of it."

Emerson said as the district's representative in Washington, D.C., she serves as an advocate to help safeguard the area's number one business.

"There are a lot of people, particularly the environmental elitists, who think we should just go ahead and import all of our food," she said. "That would be the demise of this country. There is no doubt in my mind. Given the fact that it is the most important part of our economy and given the fact we are getting ready to write a new farm bill, it is really my job to not only have input with regard to each of the various commodities in which we deal, but also standing up for our farmers."

Emerson said safety nets such as direct payments and crop insurance help ensure the prosperity of the district's farmers. She said it was also important to prevent excessive regulations from hampering the abilities of farmers to do their jobs.

Port dredging

Emerson also provided an update on securing funds for dredging at the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority. She said she is trying to arrange a meeting with the assistant secretary of the Army for civil work and also seeing if the tons per year requirement can be lowered.

Democratic challenger Tommy Sowers was scheduled to speak to media at a telephone news conference Wednesday, but was unable to attend due to another commitment. Jonathan Feifs, Sowers' campaign manager, did speak briefly about the campaign's new commercial that accuses Emerson of taking part in "job killing trade deals and Wall Street bailouts."

Emerson and Sowers are joined in the race by Libertarian Rick Vandeven and independent Larry Bill.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent Address

5739 Route W, Jackson, MO

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