Slow Barge Traffic on Mississippi River Causing Agriculture Backup
(Helena-West Helena, AR) – A barge left a Helena-West Helena, Arkansas port Friday, not quite carrying full load of grain.
“Right now we’re only loading at about 70 to 75 percent of capacity on the barges,” said Robert Goodson, an agriculture expert with the University of Arkansas.
He says low river levels on the Mississippi are to blame and its forcing companies to ship things like corn in much lighter loads.
“The river has gotten kind of low and it’s got people worried, but as far as the agriculture production, it is a good time to be in agriculture,” he said.
Goodson claims the corn produced from this year’s harvest in Phillips and Lee Counties, the areas he studies, is much higher than it’s been in years. Add in the fact that companies can’t move it as quickly and he says it leaves grain elevators overflowing.
“We have a backup in grain now,” he said. “We have one granary here in the county that is already piling grain on the ground for storage.”
Luckily the corn harvest is almost over, but not being able to move it fast enough could lead to even bigger problems.
“We’re not really worried about corn, what happens on down the road with our soybean crop is important too,” said Goodson. “We have over 215,000 acres. If we fill all of our storage with corn, where are we going to put our soybeans?”