Flooding Disrupts Farm Shipments on Mississippi River May 20, 2019 - Normally this time of year, huge barges can be seen chugging up the Mississippi River, carrying millions of tons of grain to market and bringing agriculture-related products to farmers in the Midwest for the new growing season. But there’s not much barge traffic this year. That’s because historic spring flooding that swamped and tainted farmland, also left parts of the Mississippi closed for business. The river, which runs nearly 2,350 miles from Minnesota’s Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, is a main conduit of shipping everything from agriculture products and construction material to petroleum and coal. The troubles on the Mississippi also have affected shipping on the waterways that feed into it, including the Missouri River. The interruption is hitting an agriculture industry that’s already suffering from a plethora of ills, including the Trump administration’s trade disputes that have helped drive down commodity prices.