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Farmers Review River Transport Benefits on Ohio River Lock Tour

Farmers Review River Transport Benefits on Ohio River Lock Tour
U.S. rivers are a major asset in the transportation of agricultural commodities

Observing and understanding the importance of the United States' waterways was the goal of a recent Indiana Soybean Association- and Indiana Corn Growers Association-sponsored lock and dam tour along the Ohio River.

"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."

Ohio River Lock Tour: Observing and understanding the importance of the United States' waterways was the goal of a recent lock and dam tour along the Ohio River.

Along with producers and industry leaders, Lt. Gov Sue Ellsperman and Congressman Larry Bucshon were among those attending. The importance of all working together to maintain our river transportation system was key.

The seventh annual tour was organized by the ISA and ICGA Membership and Policy Committees. The 200 tour participants traveled along the Ohio River on Sept. 5, passing through the Newburgh Lock and Dam, on a deck barge provided by Evansville Marine Service, Inc.

Related: President Obama Makes Water Resources Bill Official

The 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 that 51 million tons of grain shipped on the Ohio River annually, the event educates 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."

A bill to fund infrastructure improvements and projects on U.S. waterways, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, was signed into law by President Obama in June 2014.

While credit for this legislation in part is due to U.S. farmers educating their legislators on the importance of U.S. waterways to agriculture, implementation of the legislation is still forthcoming.

Indiana has five locks and dams on the Ohio River, a closure of just one these locks could cost farmers. Continued support and education is needed.

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