Iowa Public Television


USDA Works To Ease Grain Shipping Backlog

posted on November 4, 2005

The government is stepping up efforts to unload hundreds of Mississippi River barges carrying crops damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The Agriculture Department plans to spend $7.6 million for private contractors to get 175 barges back in circulation and to reduce the backlog on grain shipments following the storm.

"It is critically important to have barges available during peak grain harvest season and our goal is to quickly unload barges so they can be reloaded with newly harvested grains, "Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said this week.

With this year's harvest well under way, farmers are feeling the effects of the decreased number of barges available to move their crops, including higher shipping costs and lower prices for farm commodities.

Tags: agriculture boats crops disasters Hurricane Katrina hurricanes news storms USDA weather