Having heard from a number of Iowa farmers, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst recently met with the Assistant Secretary of the Army, R.D. James – who oversees all aspects of the Army Corps Civil Works program, including flood control and dredging – to stress the need for USACE to fund a key dredging project on the Mississippi River.
According to Senator Ernst, the project would deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel, a stretch of the river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, from 45 feet to 50 feet.
Showing her strong support for the project, Senator Ernst also added that more than half of all U.S. corn and soybean exports are shipped through this channel. With the Corps in the midst of developing the list of projects it will fund and begin work on this year.
“Completing this project will put more money in the pockets of our hardworking farmers and help make Iowa’s agriculture products more competitive in the global market,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “I made it clear to Secretary James how important this project is for Iowa, and I hope to see the Army Corps prioritize it in 2020.”
Iowa Soybean Association President Tim Bardole said, “Today’s market access challenges and harsh economic realities underscore the need for transportation efficiencies and infrastructure investments. The Mississippi River system is a critical link, allowing farmers to export our products around the world in a timely and cost-effective manner. We’re grateful for Senator Ernst’s leadership to elevate the project and need for investment.”
Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek said, “Deepening the lower Mississippi River is arguably the single infrastructure investment that would provide the greatest economic benefit to Iowa and U.S. soybean and corn farmers. We sincerely appreciate Senator Ernst once again being a champion for Iowa agriculture.”