More than 20 agricultural organizations joined together to send a letter to government officials requesting action to maintain barge navigation on the Mississippi River.
The explanation below and request for those in the agricultural industry to contact their Senate and House members of Congress came from Richard Gupton, Agricultural Retailers Association, senior vice president public policy and counsel, last week. Immediate action is needed, he noted.
“As you may be aware, there is need for immediate action to maintain navigation on the Mississippi River. Navigation on a critical 200-mile stretch of the Mississippi River will be severly impaired—barge transportation may cease altogether—by mid-December unless the administration takes emergency action to ensure statutorily authorized nine-foot draft to maintain commercial navigation. ARA has joined 20 other agricultural and waterway organizations in a letter to President Obama and other senior federal officials and members of Congress urging their help on this critical industry issue,” Gupton wrote.
ARA and others involved in agriculture are being urged to contact their members of Congress and President Obama to request their help on this issue. “Please make sure to request other officials within your organization to also submit a letter and/or call these offices,” Gupton stressed.
Below is the letter that was signed and sent to the government officials. Points from the letter would be appropriate to use when personally contacting members of Congress and/or President Obama.
Gupton offered to be available to answer questions. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4, 2012
The Honorable President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Support for Presidential Declaration of Emergency to Maintain Mississippi River Navigation Essential to U.S. Agriculture
Dear Mr. President:
The undersigned national associations representing the diverse expanse of U.S. agricultural producer, commodity, livestock and poultry, and agribusiness organizations join in urging your immediate action to maintain navigation on the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Mo., and Cairo, Ill.
Navigation on this strategic 200-mile stretch of the Mississippi River will be impaired severely – and barge transportation may well cease altogether – by mid-December unless the administration takes emergency action to ensure the statutorily authorized 9-foot draft needed to maintain commercial navigation. This disruption would occur during one of the busiest and most critical periods of the year for U.S. agriculture’s use of barge transportation. It is during this late fall and early winter period that southbound movements of grains, oilseeds and grain products for export to foreign buyers are at their peak, prior to the onset of the South American harvest. Meanwhile, northbound barge transport of fertilizer and other essential farm inputs is critically needed to position supplies for spring planting. Disrupting navigation on the Mississippi River also will have a devastating impact on access to the Illinois River, as grain, fertilizer and many other commodities shipped to and from that waterway must traverse through St. Louis.