National Corn Growers Association says eroding river infrastructure a concern for farmers

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) recently revealed what it said “many in agriculture have known for years,” evidence of failure among river locks and dams on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, likely leading to job losses.

Based on U.S. Department of Agriculture reports estimating possible adverse economical impacts in two specific lock locations, the Chesterfield, Missouri-based association warned of possible disruptions along regional waterways.

Lock & Dam 25 on the Upper Mississippi near Winfield, Missouri, and LaGrange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River nears Beardstown, Illinois, served as examples for the USDA due to their characteristic nature and significant locations in the overall river system.

“These are both 600 foot locks even though modern tows are 1,200 feet-long,” Ken Hartman, chair of the NCGA’s Market Access Action Team, said. “They are also at the lower reaches of the waterways. The southbound traffic here already contributes to long delays because of the lock size. But a disruption of any length of time related to their deteriorating condition would be catastrophic for family farmers who are increasingly dependent on exports and trade.”

Many of the locks are obsolete, having been constructed in the 1930s, and have exceeded their lifespan, Hartman said.

The USDA indicated that closing Lock & Dam 25 could cause the loss of over 7,000 jobs, create a $1.3 billion labor loss and result in an approximately $2.4 billion economic reduction annually. Closing LaGrange Lock & Dam could diminish the work force by 5,500 jobs and cost $900 million in lost labor income and a $1.8 billion loss in economic activity yearly.

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National Corn Growers Association

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