POSTED: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 5:04am
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Louisiana congressional delegation and federal leaders urging that the Corps not reduce water flow from a reservoir into the Missouri River which flows into the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Mo. This action is normally taken by the Corps to prepare for ice buildup and flooding during the winter months.
“Low river levels already exist because of the widespread drought. Reducing water flow would only exacerbate the situation. Barges carrying grain and other products will not be able to navigate the Mississippi if water levels drop even lower,” said Strain. “In December and January alone, $7 billion in product is expected to travel up and down this waterway. The ports in south Louisiana are dependent upon this cargo,” Strain added.
In recent weeks, Strain has taken to the radio airwaves to discuss this issue and has reached out to the congressional delegation and fellow commissioners of agriculture to get support on maintaining river levels.
“It is critical that the President take immediate action to ensure grain and other products can be moved to maintain this economic lifeline. There is a growing demand for our products, and if farmers are unable to ship their commodities, it will ultimately lead to higher prices for the consumer. That’s the last thing families need right now,” added Strain.