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River Investments Touted as U.S. Competitive Advantage

May 3, 2024   Brownfield Ag News

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Expansions to the U.S. Inland Waterway system will continue to provide a competitive advantage for American farmers on the global market.                  


Lock and Dam 25 on the Mississippi River, just north of St. Louis, is one of seven U.S. locks slated to expand in the coming years.  Stan Born, Illinois farmer and board member with the US Soybean Export Council, says it’s needed because the competition is catching up.

“Historically, we’ve had a competitive advantage because of the reliability and the timeliness of our waterways.”  He says, “I recently came back from a trip to Brazil and I saw firsthand the investments that are being made to close this gap.” 


Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says competition from Brazil has had an impact on the US farm economy.


“We experienced a trade deficit in the first 3 months of the fiscal year, roughly 6 billion dollars.”  He says, “We sold 6 billion dollars less of soybeans to China than we did a year before.  Was it that they no longer needed the soybeans?  No.  They purchased it from Brazil.” 

Expansion of the locks to 1200 feet will increase efficiency and safety on the river. 


$829 million was allocated to the project through the bipartisan infrastructure law.  Another $120 million was also awarded through the House of Representative’s Community Project Funding.


The completion of the Lock & Dam 25 expansion is expected to take ten years.