In The News

Transportation

Oct 14, 2020

Inland Waterways Vital to America’s Corn Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation

The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to export, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. being transported by barge. For the past few months, the Illinois River has been shut down to go through necessary upgrades, with a price tag totaling roughly $200 million.   “The waterway system is critical to all of agriculture,” said Bill Leigh, Illinois farmer and Vice Chair of the Risk Management and Transportation Action Team. “The work that’s gone into making the waterways viable transportation hubs to reliably move agricultural goods is what has made our grain so competitive around the world.”   The locks and dams on the Illinois River at LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island have been closed for various construction projects, with a target completion date of all the projects by the end of October. For more information on the locks and dams undergoing construction on the Illinois River, click here.   Tracy Zea,...

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Sep 17, 2019

Corn Growers Learn about Mississippi River Initiatives

Key Issues:Transportation

  National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staff, state staff and grower leaders had the opportunity to participate in a river collaboration trip, in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River St. Louis district, to see firsthand the infrastructure and inner workings of the inland waterway system.   On the first day, the group boarded the barge at Lock and Dam 22, located near Saverton, Missouri, roughly 10 miles southeast of Hannibal. This lock and dam have been in operation since 1938. In 2017, more than 21-million tons of food and farm products went through this lock and dam.   “Agriculture relies so heavily on the inland waterways system to move our product each year to export markets,” said Market Access Action Team (MAAT) Chair and Colorado farmer Michael Lefever. “With more than 60 percent of grain exports in the U.S. being moved by barge, having up-to-date infrastructure is imperative. This trip helped us learn more about the needs and challenges of the river...

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Aug 14, 2019

#ICYMI: Waterways Council Launches Educational Video Series

Key Issues:Transportation

The Waterways Council, Inc. recently produced a series of videos, aimed at educating various audiences on inland waterways. The five videos focus on agriculture, labor, shippers, communities and the Army Corps of Engineers. In the agriculture video, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicks it off by saying “I don’t think anything is more important to agriculture than logistics and transportation. That’s ultimately how we get that product to the ultimate end customer and our waterways have been absolutely critical in that effort.”   To watch the agriculture video, click here. To learn more about and watch the other four videos, click here. In September, NCGA staff will be participating in a Mississippi Riverboat trip with the Army Corps of Engineers from Hannibal to St. Louis, to learn more about river transportation, lock and dam infrastructure and various projects the Corps is working on.   Fast Facts on River Transportation:   Corn, soybeans and wheat account...

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Apr 10, 2019

NCGA Testifies on Importance of Inland Waterways

Key Issues:Transportation

NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross testified before the U.S. House Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment today at a hearing titled, “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Investment in our Nation’s Waterways Matter.”   The hearing was an opportunity for NCGA to share the importance of the inland waterway system to farmers and serve as a resource for future discussions regarding water transport.   “America’s corn farmers need reliable means of moving our crops to customers, whether it’s to livestock feed yards, grain elevators, the ethanol plant, or ports for export. Farmers use many modes of transportation, with the inland waterway system being a vital artery of transportation for our products, especially for farmers in the Midwest,” Ross told the Subcommittee.   Read Ross’s Testimony   Video Highlights

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Feb 12, 2018

NCGA Applauds Trump for Prioritizing Infrastructure, Details Concerns Over Waterways Plans

Key Issues:Transportation

The National Corn Growers Association thanked President Trump following the announcement detailing his plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure and making it a national priority today. Noting the particular importance of improving rural infrastructure, and pledging $50 billion dollars to do so, this announcement clearly shows the value the Administration places on rural communities, and NCGA looks forward to working with them in their efforts to achieve this important goal.   While NCGA is pleased in the investment in rural infrastructure, plans outlined to address water transportation systems cause some concern in their current state.   Water transportation systems like the Upper Mississippi River corridor are critical corridors of commerce for many industries including agriculture and the nation’s farmers. We are currently depending on a dilapidated system of locks and dams that is more than half a century old, and on borrowed time.   Nearly three-quarters of U.S. grain...

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Oct 26, 2016

Eroding River Infrastructure, a Major Concern for Corn Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation

New research by the University of Tennessee quantifies what many in agriculture have known for years; failure of our aging river locks and dams along the Mississippi River and its tributaries would be ruinous with billions of dollars in lost jobs and reduced economic activity.   Recently, USDA released estimates of the economic implications to the agriculture sector should a disruption occur at either Lock & Dam 25 on the Upper Mississippi or La Grange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River waterway. The locations were selected because they are representative of the lock system as a whole but also because they occupy key locations on the river system.   “These are both 600 foot locks even though modern tows are 1,200 feet-long. They are also at the lower reaches of the waterways,” said Ken Hartman, chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Market Access Action Team. “The southbound traffic here already contributes to long delays because of the lock size. But a disruption of...

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Oct 11, 2016

NCGA and USGC Sponsor Agri-Pulse Series Examining Importance of Infrastructure in Agriculture

Key Issues:Transportation

Solid infrastructure is the backbone of American agriculture and especially critical to the continued growth in exports of feed grains.  That’s why the National Corn Growers Association, along with the U.S. Grains Council, signed on as a sponsor of a special seven-part Agri-Pulse editorial series that is taking a close-up look at America’s infrastructure and the improvements that are needed to help farmers and ranchers remain competitive at home and abroad.  The series, “Keeping Rural America Competitive,” was launched following the recent Rural Infrastructure Summit in Ames, Iowa, in an effort to continue the important conversations prompted by the Summit.  That event featured a diverse collection of agriculture companies and organizations as well as distinguished speakers emphasizing the importance of finding new ways to address global population growth, exports and market access while building stronger rural communities.  It also included two moderated panels featuring a...

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