POSTED: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 7:04am
LOUISIANA — The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. The bill provides funding for port, dam, flood protection and environmental projects throughout the country including Louisiana.
“Maintaining our waterways will greatly benefit the agricultural industry. As I’ve said in the past, the Mississippi River and our ports are the lifeline of transportation for agricultural products in our nation. More than 30 states and two Canadian provinces ship products such as grain, coal, steel, petroleum, and aggregates,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Strain adds that the river forms one of the largest critical inland waterway systems in the nation, supporting about 50 percent of the nation's soybean exports and 60 percent of the total U.S. corn exports.
“Annually, more than 400 million bushels of soybeans, 1.1 billion bushels of corn, and more than 30 million bushels of wheat are moved by barge to ports along the lower Mississippi River. As one of the largest single contributors to the nations' gross domestic product, agriculture is critical to our economy. The inability to maintain the Mississippi River at sufficient depths and widths by dredging will have significant impacts to Louisiana agriculture. Therefore, any effort to maintain this waterway is a positive move. We can grow those products, but failure to maintain our water systems severely limits our ability in trade and ultimately weakens our ability to compete on the global scale,” added Strain.
Next, the bill goes to a House-Senate conference committee hearing.