Rep. Jo Ann Emerson will make a stop in Texas County as part of her annual farm tour.
Emerson conducts her visits to southern Missouri producers and value-added businesses each year to address the concerns of constituents over federal agriculture policy and program funding. She will be at Carr Ranch – three miles south of Summersville on Highway 17 – from 10-11 a.m. today (Thursday).
“Even in the most normal times, it’s never an easy year to run a farm, ranch or dairy. Our agriculture operations and all of the local businesses connected to them rely on good policy, and I work very hard in Congress to make sure all of our concerns are heard at the federal level,” Emerson said. “This is an important conversation about keeping Missouri agriculture competitive with the rest of the world and the rest of the country, as well as preserving our edge on technology and infrastructure.”
Emerson’s tour features stops at a sod farm, a buffalo ranch, a winery and a miniature horse ranch.
“We feature a great diversity of agricultural operations and expertise in southern Missouri, and I am very proud of the fact that our district is a literal ‘horn of plenty’ for the nation. That also means that virtually every change in federal agriculture policy affects us in some way,” Emerson said.
The 8th district representative cites Cap-and-Trade and USDA modernization as two key issues for southern Missouri producers on which she has been exceptionally active. Emerson expects she will hear a great deal about those two subjects at the farms and ranches she visits in August.
“A new tax on energy would affect every single home and business in southern Missouri, but a 75 percent increase in the price of electricity and fuel would hit our producers especially hard. They use a lot of energy to produce our safe, stable and affordable supply of food – from the gas in farm trucks to the electricity that runs the irrigation system at a farm or the barn at a diary. Any price shock on energy not severe enough to put them out of business will still be big enough that everyone who goes to a grocery store in America will feel the pinch,” Emerson warned.
“Another key issue for Missouri producers is keeping the local USDA or Farm Service Administration office open to serve the producers close to their dairies, ranches and farms. Federal agriculture programs are complicated and they change often, so we need to preserve the expert career staff for the times we need to help our farmers and ranchers understand the changes, comply with the rules, respond to disasters and use the safety provided by the federal farm programs when they need it.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Emerson serves on the Agriculture Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, where funding and oversight for USDA programs is an annual priority. She fights an annual campaign to keep USDA offices in Missouri counties open and staffed.