Farmers and ag groups in the Midwest say the U.S. river system needs an upgrade, and they’re hopeful it will come with proposed improvements in legislation recently passed by Congress.
The nation’s rivers are essential for moving agricultural products to market.
“It’s our third coast, if you will,” said Jim Tarmann, field services director with the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “Over 60 percent of our grain exports move via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. That’s how things get to our world markets.”
Back in 1999, then Governor George Ryan led a delegation to the island nation of Cuba. Since that time, a number of Illinois Agriculture groups have been working to ease trade restrictions to the small nation. The Illinois Cuba Working Group recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama hoping to expand trade opportunities between the nations.