In The News

Transportation and Infrastructure

Oct 22, 2021

NCGA, Other Ag Groups, Comment on Disruptive Factors Facing U.S. Supply Chain

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The National Corn Growers Association joined 51 other agricultural groups in submitting comments this week to the U.S. Department of Transportation addressing the many disruptive factors facing the U.S. supply chain. The comments provide recommendations on how to alleviate these challenges through legislative and regulatory actions.    “To be successful, farmers must have a reliable and fully functioning national transportation system that will allow us to receive our fall fertilizer shipments and deliver our products to consumers in a timely fashion,” said NCGA President Chris Edgington. “That’s why NCGA, along with other groups, are making our voices heard in these discussions.”    The comments address several key areas of concern to corn growers, including:   Inland Waterways. The inland waterways system is vital to the American supply chain and gives U.S. producers a significant advantage in terms of cost and efficiency over international competitors. The comments urge...

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Aug 10, 2021

NCGA: Passage of Senate Infrastructure Bill a Positive Development that Would Benefit Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauds the U.S. Senate for today’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package, which includes investments in important areas to corn growers.     “This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment in America’s infrastructure, and we are extremely pleased that it includes funding for priorities that are important to farmers and rural America,” said President of the National Corn Growers Association John Linder. “The legislation will benefit agriculture for years to come, and it is encouraging for corn farmers to see Senators working together on a bipartisan basis.”   Among the items included in the bill:   $17.3 billion for the nation’s ports and inland waterways. With 60% of corn exports utilizing these waterways, NCGA and coalition partners have a track record of advocating for these key resources.   $65 billion for broadband internet access, including $2 billion specifically for rural broadband, which will provide more farmers...

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Jul 30, 2021

NCGA: Passage of Bill to Fund Improvements on the Upper Mississippi River System Will Help Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would allocate millions of dollars in funding to improve the navigability of the Upper Mississippi River System, a vital national artery for the shipment of corn and other crops.   “Corn growers depend on the Mississippi River to deliver corn to key markets. When barges are delayed because of problems on the river, farmers are economically affected,” said Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association. “That’s why we have worked closely with members of Congress to get funding for this project passed.” The House bill, which includes appropriations funding on other issues, provides $8.66 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Mission. From those funds, $22.5 million will go toward construction funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). NESP funding will be used to construct new locks on the river and help address efficiency issues with...

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May 14, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Rural Broadband

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers. Rural Americans rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace and access to a fast, reliable broadband connection is critical for all Americans.   Technology is a part of nearly every aspect of the farming operation, allowing farmers to be more efficient and sustainable on their operations. But, 14 million Americans living in rural communities lack access to reliable internet.   The Biden plan proposes $100 billion to expand high-speed internet to enable 100 percent access across the entire country. This proposal will prioritize support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and cooperatives. This will also reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption.   The broadband industry supports jobs in rural America...

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May 13, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Inland Waterways and Ports

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers.   Sixty million rural Americans live and work in rural communities. They rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to effectively move their products and compete globally and roads, bridges, highways and waterways provide the first and last links in the supply chain. America’s inland waterways system provides the most fuel-efficient, lowest cost, and environmentally friendly method of transporting products.   Included in the Biden Administration plan is a proposed $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries. The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to export, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the United States being transported by barge, but work needs to be done to bring the nearly 12,000 miles of commercially navigable channels and 240 lock sites up to...

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May 10, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Roads and Bridges

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers. Rural Americans rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to effectively move their products and compete globally and roads, bridges, highways and waterways provide the first and last links in the supply chain.   The proposal’s $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways as well as roads and bridges would target the most economically significant large bridges and repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges.   If approved by Congress, this funding would meet the needs of our crumbling infrastructure. The nation’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies due to underfunding. 15 percent of the nation’s major rural roads have pavements rated in poor condition, 21% in mediocre condition, and 10 percent rated structurally deficient.   Congress will ultimately decide, and vote on, the provisions included in any...

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Apr 13, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Rural Broadband

Key Issues:Farm PolicyTransportation and Infrastructure

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers. Rural Americans rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace, and access to a fast, reliable broadband connection is critical for all Americans.   Technology is a part of nearly every aspect of the farming operation, allowing farmers to be more efficient and sustainable on their operations. But, 14 million Americans living in rural communities lack access to reliable internet.   The Biden plan proposes $100 billion to expand high-speed internet to enable 100 percent access across the entire country. This proposal will prioritize support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and cooperatives. This will also reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption.   The broadband industry supports jobs in rural...

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Mar 31, 2021

President Biden Outlines Infrastructure Proposal

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

President Biden today unveiled his American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal investing in a wide range of infrastructure areas. The White House describes the American Jobs Plan as “an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.”   The proposal includes: $115 billion to repair roads and bridges $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband across the country $100 billion to upgrade and build new schools Investment in climate and clean energy infrastructure   Congress will ultimately decide and vote on, the provisions included in any infrastructure legislation. Discussions on Capitol Hill regarding an infrastructure package are currently taking place and NCGA is sharing corn farmer priorities with members of the House and Senate.   The proposal’s $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways as well as roads and bridges would target the most...

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Feb 9, 2021

Navigating the Needs of the Nation’s Inland Waterways System

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

This past summer and through the fall, many of the locks on the Illinois River underwent major rehabilitation projects upgrading the aging infrastructure. Still, more work is necessary to bring the nearly 12,000 miles of commercially navigable channels and 240 lock sites up-to-date.   Members of the Market Development Action Team (MDAT) and Risk Management and Transportation Action Team (RMTAT) had the opportunity to tour the construction sites last fall. The project on the Illinois River had a price tag totaling roughly $200 million. The locks and dams at LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island were the locations that underwent various construction projects.   Tracy Zea, President & CEO of the Waterways Council, Inc., joined NCGA to tour the construction of the locks and dams on the Illinois River. “We currently have 69 locks that are over 80 years old, and each lock is designed to last 50 years,” said Zea. “The upgrades are necessary because it allows...

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Jan 6, 2021

Risk Management and Transportation Action Team Focusing in 2021 on Infrastructure Improvements and Strong Risk Management Tools

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

NCGA’s Risk Management and Transportation Action Team (RMTAT) oversees much of NCGA’s public policy work on issues including the farm bill’s commodity, crop insurance and disaster programs; commodity markets; and transportation and infrastructure.   RMTAT plays a key role in the development of NCGA policy and is looking to have an impactful 2021 and beyond. The team has a full plate of issues to consider for the coming year. U.S. infrastructure improvements, including waterways and rail systems, to keep a competitive edge for American agriculture, along with implementation of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), will be a focus for the team.   RMTAT will also look ahead to the next farm bill reauthorization, evaluating current farm bill programs, looking for areas of improvement to existing programs, and continuing to support strong risk management tools essential to corn growers. Federal responses to weather-related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic will also be on...

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Nov 20, 2020

Illinois Waterway System Reopens to Traffic

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

A major rehabilitation project on the Illinois River has been completed, allowing for the 12 million tons of food and ag commodities that leave the state to resume. This past summer, the Illinois River was shut down to go through necessary infrastructure upgrades with all of the newly completed work accompanied by a price tag totaling roughly $200 million.   This Week in Agribusiness recently featured the ongoing work from the Illinois Lock and Dam Project. Back in September, corn growers and NCGA staff toured four active construction sites along the Rock Island District including LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, and Marseilles. The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to the export market, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. being transported by barge.     Illinois corn grower Terry Smith told This Week in Agribusiness that waterways transportation isn’t just more efficient, it also makes the roads safer. “If you know some of the...

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Oct 14, 2020

Inland Waterways Vital to America’s Corn Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation and Infrastructure

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 and Infrastructure

  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 and Infrastructure

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 and Infrastructure

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 and Infrastructure

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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