Annual River Tour Timely in Light of Water Resources Reform and Development Act
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., (September 23, 2013) — Of the five locks and dams on the Ohio River along Indiana’s southern border, several are operating at twice their intended lifespan. A closure of just one of these locks could cost farmers – and other industries like coal and petroleum – millions in lost revenue.
On September 6, nearly 300 grain farmers and industry representatives attended the 6th annual Ohio River Tour, which took them through the Markland Lock and Dam system near Switzerland County, Ind. to see the impact river transportation has on the agriculture economy first hand.
With more than 51.8 million tons of grain shipped on the Ohio River annually, Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) Membership and Policy Committee and Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) organized the event to educate farmers about the importance of river transportation to their bottom line and to Indiana’s economy.
“Barge transportation on waterways is the most economical and most environmentally friendly way to move corn and soybeans to foreign and domestic markets,” said Joe Steinkamp, chairman of the ISA Membership and Policy Committee and farmer from Evansville, Ind. “The Ohio River serves as a major mover of the eastern corn belt’s corn and soybeans to out of state and out of country markets and it’s important that this system stays viable in order to keep farmers viable.”
The tour came just before some comprehensive waterways legislation was set to come before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Last spring, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which makes significant progress in repairing and revitalizing the nation’s aging waterways infrastructure.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) on Thursday, September 19. Now the bill will head to the floor of House of Representatives. Leadership has indicated the bill will come to the floor in early October.
“ISA and ICGA strongly support passage of waterways legislation that can help us repair and revitalize our aging waterways infrastructure,” said Herb Ringel, ICGA President and farmer from Wabash, Ind. “We need a healthy waterways infrastructure to move our grain to market and will work to see that the WRRDA bill is passed so that we can maintain our competitiveness in global markets.”
Although there appears to be strong support from the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee for WRRDA, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives need to be reminded that the river infrastructure and our inland waterways system are vital for the agriculture industry and our economy.
“It is essential that farmers call the Capitol Switchboard and encourage their Congressman or woman to support the new Water Resources Reform and Development Act,” said Katie Thomas Glick, ISA and ICGA public affairs program manager. “The river tour could not have come at a better time to encourage farmers to take action and we hope other farmers in the state will follow suit.”
To contact your Congressman or woman, call 202-224-3121.
or 317-644-2797 or by visiting www.indianasoybean.com/rivertour.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds and the development of sound policies that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA is working to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of biodiesel, livestock, international marketing, new soybean uses, aquaculture, and research. ISA is led by an elected farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers and promotes policies on behalf of the ISA’s 950 dues-paying members.
The ICGA board, which works with the state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers, consists of 15 farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of the nearly 600 ICGA members statewide.
This communication was NOT funded with Indiana corn or soybean checkoff dollars.