Infrastructure Week emphasizes importance of waterways on farm economy

Sixty percent of the nation’s 12,000 miles of waterways are over 50 years old. | File photo
Officials at the National Corn Growers Association and other U.S. organizations used Infrastructure Week to emphasize the importance of inland waterway systems in strong farm economies.

National inland waterway systems have a crucial role in supporting the agricultural industry in the U.S. Without these waterways, the farms’ operational capacities would diminish. Over 60 percent of U.S. grain exports are completed with barges. Farmers use the waterways to send crops throughout the worldwide marketplace. This is also the route that many crops take to local businesses that also use the waterways to transport products and raw materials.

Unfortunately, the waterway system is aging. Because of increased delays related to infrastructure, farmers are having difficulties meeting the high demands of growing markets.

Most recently, 60 percent of the nation’s 12,000 miles of waterways (spanning 38 states from the Mississippi River) are over 50 years old. These waterways were only designed to last 50 years; many of the dams and locks in the U.S. were established in the 1920s and 1930s, and they are still being used as important parts of the 21st-century economy.

Fortunately, infrastructure investments have risen for locks and dams. For every dollar that is invested in the U.S. inland waterway system, $10 is invested in the U.S. economy. This funding could support 541,000 jobs and over $1 billion for new job income each year.

Organizations in this story

National Corn Growers Association 632 Cepi Drive Chesterfield, MO - 63005

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