C magazine

CHS advocates for waterway infrastructure funding and maintenance

Barge floating down river

Mar 01, 2021

With 60% of U.S. grain exports shipped on inland waterways, maintaining the aging lock-and-dam system is essential for agriculture and other industries that rely on the river to move goods. Federal funding has been increasing since 2014, but not fast enough to make up for years of neglect, says John Engelen, vice president, CHS Government Affairs.

“CHS has worked hard to raise awareness of the magnitude of challenges facing the U.S. inland waterways system and to support increased federal funding for construction, operation and maintenance of vital waterway infrastructure,” says Engelen.

“CHS has repeatedly brought business leaders and members of our Board of Directors to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal policymakers and highlight the importance of river transportation to the American agricultural supply chain.”

CHS has joined with other major shippers, commodity organizations, labor unions, barge operators and other groups to form the Waterways Council, an advocacy organization, says Engelen, who serves on the council’s board of directors. 

CHS is also active in other industry groups that advocate for investment in maintaining the country’s river system, notes Ben Doane, CHS grain marketing barge freight coordinator. He’s a member of the Waterborne Commerce Committee of the National Grain and Feed Association and involved in the Upper Mississippi Waterways Association.

“These organizations help communicate to policymakers and the public the importance of maintaining our river resources. U.S. rivers are a critical, yet often overlooked, part of our infrastructure.” 

This article appeared as part of the cover story in C magazine. Read the full article to learn how growers are finding ways to get more from every drop of water.