Annual Ohio River Lock Tour Offers Insight on River Transportation

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., (September 5, 2014) — Observing and understanding the importance of the United States’ waterways was the goal of a recent lock and dam tour along the Ohio River.

The 7th Annual Ohio River Lock Tour was organized by the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) Membership and Policy Committee. The 200 tour participants traveled along the Ohio River on September 5, passing through the Newburgh Lock and Dam, on a deck barge provided by Evansville Marine Service, Inc. Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Congressman Larry Bucshon were among those attending this year’s event.

“This river tour gives Indiana leaders a close look at the value of our waterways and why they’re important not only to agriculture, but to the state and national economy,” said Levi Huffman, chair of ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee. “Waterways are one of the most economical forms of transportation and we want to take steps to ensure they’re well maintained.”

The Annual Ohio River Lock Tour began in 2008 with the goal showing political leaders and the ag community the importance of maintaining a strong U.S. waterway infrastructure. With more than 51million tons of grain shipped on the Ohio River annually, ISA Membership and Policy Committee and ICGA organized the event to educate farmers about the importance of river transportation to their bottom line and to Indiana’s economy.

“A sound infrastructure keeps commerce moving both directions. Cargo hauled via waterways is one of the cheapest methods of transportation, which is beneficial to the end users,” said Herb Ringel, president of ICGA. “The tour allows participants – especially Congressional staff – to see how waterways like the Ohio River are used on a daily basis.”

Thanks in part to the effort of U.S. farmers who educated their legislators on the importance of U.S. waterways, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Obama in June 2014.

However, implementation of the legislation is forthcoming. Indiana has five locks and dams on the Ohio River along the state’s southern border. A closure of just one of these locks could cost farmers – and other industries like coal and petroleum – millions in lost revenue.

“Legislators need to know how valuable and strategic the river is for transporting our crops,” said Joe Steinkamp, vice-president of ISA. “Every bushel of grain that is transported via river is one less bushel transported via truck or rail. Without our river system, we lose our competitive advantage over the world.”

This year’s tour was organized by the membership of ISA and ICGA and is sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance (soybean checkoff), ADM, Mulzer Crushed Stone, Inc., Kentucky Soybean Board, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Farm Credit Mid-America, and DuPont Pioneer.

For more information, visit


Contact: Megan Kuhn, ISA/ICGA Communications Director, 317-614-0377 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Indiana Corn Growers Association, 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 more than 600 ICGA members statewide.

This communication was NOT funded with Indiana corn or soybean checkoff dollars.