INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosier grain
farmers are relieved that repair work on a critical lock and dam on the Ohio River will continue with the approval of the federal
As part of the budget agreement, Congress included a provision
that allows work on the Ohio River’s Olmsted
Lock and Dam to continue by raising the caps on what can be set aside to fund
Olmsted is Indiana’s access point to the Mississippi River, these
locks are important to not only Indiana agriculture, but also many other industries
that rely on the river system to move goods.
The Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance
Membership and Policy Committee believe the congressional action will benefit Indiana farmers and the
state’s economy by ensuring the project continues to move forward and that 400
workers stay on the job.
Many of the country’s locks and dams have far exceeded their
50-year usable lifespan, and the Olmsted project replaces two of these that
fall into that category — Locks 52 and 53 on the Ohio River.
“Our research shows that if either of these locks failed and
stayed closed for a year, it could cost Indiana
farmers nearly $20 million,” said Joe Steinkamp, chair of ISA’s policy
committee and a farmer from Evansville.
“Grain only accounts for 5 percent of the volume on the Ohio
River, so just think what a closure could mean for other
industries who rely on the river much more than we do.”
senators, Republican Dan Coats and Democrat Joe Donnelly, voted for the Senate
bill that was then agreed upon by the House. Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind.; Andre
Carson, D-Ind.; Pete Visclosky, D-Ind.; and Todd Young, R-Ind., voted in support
of the bill.
“We appreciate the bipartisan support of our Indiana
delegation in supporting this bill,” said Herb Ringel, ICGA president and
farmer from Wabash. “We hope they continue to
support legislation that works to modernize our inland waterways system,
including the Water Resources Reform Development Act, which is expected to go
to the House floor this week.”
For more information on the importance of the inland waterways
system to Indiana
corn and soybean farmers, visit www.indianasoybean.com/rivertour.