Indiana Corn and Soybean Checkoffs Sponsor Tour to Highlight River Transportation
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., (September 5, 2014) — Inland waterways are a key method of transportation for corn and soybeans. Although grain accounts for only 5 percent of the Ohio River’s traffic, 25 percent of the corn and soybeans that leave the state are shipped through the inland waterways system.
Almost 200 farmers, industry representatives and political leaders toured the Newburgh Lock and Dam via a deck barge on September 5 to learn about the state of the national waterway infrastructure at the 7th Annual Ohio River Lock Tour. Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) and Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) were event sponsors.
“The inland waterways of the U.S. are the most economical transportation mode for grain and the best way to see how they operate is to experience them firsthand,” said Joe Steinkamp, vice president of Indiana Soybean Alliance and a farmer from Evansville, Ind. “Without our river system, we lose our competitive advantage. We want the ag community to be educated on transportation issues so they can educate their politicians.”
The success of the U.S. corn and soy industries is tied to quality of the nation’s waterway infrastructure and quality of the locks and dams. In 2011, 59 percent of soybean exports passed through Mississippi ports. Of those soybeans, 89 percent arrived at those ports via the locks of the U.S. inland waterways.
If a single Ohio River lock failed or closed, it would cost Indiana farmers approximately two cents per bushel, or more than $20 million. While farms situated closer to the river would lose between 11 to 14 cents per bushel, every Indiana grain farmer would see the effect.
“This event allows farmers to see what happens on the Ohio River and understand the efficiency of our waterways,” said Herb Ringel, president of Indiana Corn Growers Association. “Tour participants go through the locks and see how the locks raise and lower to haul cargo. A lot of our locks and dams need updating, and this tour demonstrates their importance and why they need our attention.”
Compared to railcars and semi-trailers, barges remain one of the most efficient modes of transportation. One barge holds roughly 15 rail cars or 60 semi-trailers. The standard 15 barge tow used on the Ohio River holds the equivalent of more than 900 semi-trailers or 225 railcars.
For more information, visit 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 Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interest of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting producer directors and seven appointed industry, and government representatives.
This communication was funded with Indiana soybean and corn checkoff dollars.