Flooding Hurts Barge Grain Transportation

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Record flooding throughout the upper Mississippi river area is hurting agricultural transportation.
The river crested at a near all time record point, second to 1993 flooding levels.
Flooding messes with barge navigation and more horse power is needed to push against tough currents. Barge captains also move 15 boats lashed together, which could mean more accidents to bridges or levies.
However, with dry weather over the weekend, barge transportation is picking up again.
While flooding to the north is receding, it's going downstream now and the lower export terminals are getting a lot more water.
According to the Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek that puts pressure on levies, "You don't really have an inland waterway system if you don't have an effective system of levies. And whenever you've got this increased current, this increased water it imposes more pressure onto our levy system and so we really need to be on top of it and making sure that this system is still able to accommodate what U.S. soybean farmers and farmers in general produce."

Steenhoek says soybean transportation is particularly vulnerable to flooding halting grain movement. Eighty percent of U.S. beans are exported between September and February.

This event is not normal, the Soy Transportation Coalition has grown accustomed to talking about major flooding in the in the last five to ten years during spring months, not really during the winter.

Steenhoek says, "This is the first time I've ever had a discussion like this. Major flooding, record flooding occurring in late December and early January. So this is really unique and it just shows how agriculture is an industry that has a lot of uncertainty in it and not only with the production of agricultural products, but the transportation of those agricultural products."


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