Iowa Soybean Farmers Welcome Passage of Water Resources Development Act

An effective inland waterway system remains critical for transporting Iowa soybeans

The Iowa Soybean Association welcomes President Trump’s signage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The House of Representatives passed the legislation unanimously on Sept. 13 and the Senate passed the act by a vote of 99-1 on Oct. 10.

“The competitive advantage for Midwestern farmers over the last several decades has been our infrastructure, roads, and inland waterways,” says ISA President and Keota area farmer, Lindsay Greiner. “Over the years, we’ve let some of our locks and dams be neglected and there hasn’t been substantial investment.”

WRDA provides a strategy for improving America’s inland waterway system and secures funding to address this critical link in agriculture’s chain. Transportation for exports and delivery of Iowa’s soybeans remains a top priority for Iowa Soybean Association farmer-members and initiatives such as the Soy Transportation Coalition.

“Our nation’s locks and dams have long been advocated for,” says Mike Steenhoek, Soy Transportation Coalition director. “The inland waterway system continues to be undercapitalized. As the soybean industry in Iowa and the United States faces sobering challenges, efficient transportation proves even more critical in facilitating profitability for soybean farmers,” Steenhoek says.

Steenhoek reminds stakeholders that a failure at one or more lock and dam sites is not outside the realm of possibility.

“WRDA has been passed every two years since 2014. Prior to then, the most recent WRDA bill was in 2007. The more time that elapses between passage, the more difficult it becomes for Congress to devote the necessary time and energy to address the needs of our inland waterway system.”

In addition to the bill’s timely passage, Congress has allocated $6.99 billion for 2019 — more funding than ever before.

Greiner celebrates the bill’s passage. “WRDA is welcomed news for Iowa farmers. It gives us an advantage in competing with other countries.”

Partially funded by the soybean checkoff

Editor's Note: Download portrait and audio from Mike Steenhoek regarding WRDA at https://we.tl/t-0bco2rni4z

The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) develops policies and programs that help Iowa’s more than 40,000 soybean farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The association was founded in 1964 and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 22 farmers. It strives to be honest and transparent, fact-based and data driven and committed to environmental stewardship, collaborations and partnerships.