(Posted Wed. Jul 31st, 2013)
July 31: Yesterday, the National Corn Growers Association brought the corn farmer’s point of view to a panel on maritime issues at the Agricultural Transportation Summit Conference in Rosemont, Ill. The “A Modern Infrastructure for Modern Agriculture” conference brought together key legislators and leadership from government agencies, agribusiness, the grain and feed industry, shipping and academia for an in-depth discussion of the transportation issues facing the entire value chain.
NCGA Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels moderated a panel featuring participants from the Army Corps of Engineers, Cargill, Port of Grays Harbor and the Soy Transportation Coalition. During this discussion, the panelists looked at how outdated infrastructure on our nation’s waterways and at our ports is currently impeding effective transportation of agricultural goods. Focused not only on funding obstacles but also on the ways in which agricultural interests plan to deal with this evolving situation, panelists considered a variety of aspects which will impact farmers and those who purchase agricultural products, such as the state of railways leading into ports.
“The information presented by panelists provided a pointed wakeup call for anyone dependent upon our nation’s waterways for commerce that has not already been impacted by the infrastructure issues we face today,” said Bertels. “Despite the myriad issues facing our state and national legislators and government agencies, it is imperative that we place a high priority on infrastructure and the essential role it plays in a functional economy. There are creative solutions out there, but we must address these issues before they literally bring our economy to a halt.”
The conference also featured panels on surface transportation, rail issues, infrastructure investment in Brazil and a keynote address from Congressman Randy Hultgren. Many attendees from state soy and corn organizations joined in the discussions, voicing concern for how their industry could be impacted as further delays to infrastructure repairs and updates create challenges to the smooth transportation of crops for other markets and for export.
The conference was jointly sponsored by Soy Transportation Coalition, the National Grain and Feed Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To learn more about NCGA’s work on the transportation issues facing farmers, click here.