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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Emerson spends time on the farm

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sikeston-area farmer Dan Jennings and U.S. Rep. JoAnn Emerson visit in the shop Wednesday.
SIKESTON -- Trampling through dusty fields of corn stalks and riding in combines is quite different than how U.S. Representative JoAnn Emerson usually spends her work days on Capitol Hill. But that's just what she did Wednesday afternoon at one of the stops on her annual farm tour.

"It is work for me, but not really," Emerson said. "I just consider myself so fortunate to be able to have a job that allows me to do this."

Her time on the combine was "amazing," Emerson said. "Just the engineering part of it -- that it goes in there and separates everything. It really is quite interesting and so high tech."

Emerson's stop was to visit the Jennings, brothers Dan and Tom. Due to the corn harvest, Tom was unable to attend, but she was able to visit with Dan Jennings at the Schuchart Farms outside of Morehouse, which the brothers rent. Corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans -- all the major crops grown in Southeast Missouri -- are harvested there, Jennings pointed out.

Emerson agreed that her jurisdiction is quite diverse. "I'm one of those people who has significant livestock and significant row crop (growers in my district)," she said. "It's a simple fact that agriculture is the real driving force in the Eighth District."

The late Bill Emerson, who started the tours, visited the same farm during corn harvest years ago. Another time, she rode along for the rice harvest with the Jennings brothers before, but never to harvest corn.

"The fact that I didn't grow up on a farm or a ranch is why I have to rely on the experts to teach me," Emerson said. "I have spent as much as I could of the last 11 years with different producers, who have been a tremendous, tremendous asset to me."

There have been some changes in the equipment. "The big difference is the technology that's inside the cab and the size of the machinery," Jennings said.

Mary Schuchart is a second-generation owner of the family farm, which is now jointly owned by her children, Jennings told Emerson. He pointed out how the proposed subsidy cap for farmers who earned more than $200,000 annually that was considered for the new Farm Bill would be too little for other families who own farms.

"That's not a huge amount -- you'd be forced to cash rent rather than crop rent," he said. "Anybody starting out farming probably couldn't afford that." Emerson said there are several people on the committee writing the bill with her don't come from agriculture-based regions and don't have constituents who share that information with representatives. "I'm worrisome (about the outcome of the bill) but I think we will prevail," she said. This legislation is meant to be the main support for U.S. agriculture for as many as the next five years, so it is important to have as much input as possible during the critical process of reauthorization."

Although it took an hour out of his day -- one that would run until after dark with the harvest - Jennings said he enjoyed the visit. "I'm just glad that you continue to take time for this," he said. "You could very easily take the time off and sit in the air conditioner."

Schuchart agreed. "We appreciate it. This way, they see what's going on," she said.

Later Wednesday evening, Emerson attended the Scott County Farm Bureau dinner in Sikeston. Today, she will be at the New Madrid Port at the St. Jude Industrial Park in Marston, and Emerson will conclude her tour on Friday with a visit to the Delta Center Field Day in Portageville.