(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)
In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday, the National Corn Growers Association urged the Army Corps to delay its planned mat-laying work along the Mississippi River and reopen the river to traffic.
On Friday morning, the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division closed the Mississippi River to daylight traffic for a three-mile stretch near Memphis. The closure is expected to last 14 days. According to the Corps, the resulting delays of barge traffic were running about 10 hours over the weekend.
“This comes at a terrible time for U.S. corn farmers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “We produced a record crop in 2014, much of which will be transported along the Mississippi River. It is imperative that barge traffic not be impeded, and as much grain as possible is transported before winter.”
In the letter, NCGA notes that the closure is being done with little notice, and it will result in significant delays of grain shipments.
In response to concerns from NCGA and others, on Sunday evening the Corps agreed to delay the work each morning to accommodate tows that did not clear the work area overnight. The Corps is also considering whether to allow north-bound traffic during daylight hours and south-bound traffic at night.
NCGA continues to monitor the situation. Read the full letter here.