NCGA also announced its support for a greater environmental investment in the river but did not identify a specific alternative. The organization believes the environmental alternatives need to be more fully vetted and studied, something it has committed to do.

“NCGA supports Economic Alternative 6 because it will help corn growers move their product efficiently, safely and in an environmentally friendly manner,” said NCGA President Dee Vaughan. “Corn growers need new locks and dams in order to remain competitive and to meet the challenge presented by our foreign competitors. ”

Vaughan also strongly encouraged the Corps to remain on schedule to complete the Upper Mississippi/Illinois Waterway Navigation Feasibility Study next year so that Congress can act to authorize new locks and dams. Congress is waiting for the Corps to complete work on this study before it approves construction plans.

Currently, serious congestion delays at seven locks inhibit the free flow of bulk commodities. Unless they are upgraded soon, barge delays will continue and the cost of transporting U.S. commodities to the Gulf of Mexico will rise, hurting the American farmer’s export potential.

“Growers face multiple challenges, from intense competition to unfair trade practices to a wide variety of regulations. They should not have to worry about efficiently moving their product,” Vaughan concluded.

NCGA growers and staff will be present at each of the Corps public meetings. For more information on the meetings, visit the NCGA web site at www.ncga.com.