The Importance of Barge Transportation for America's Agriculture


Jerry Fruin

February 1995

Report no. Mn/DOT P95-4

A well-maintained inland waterway system and a healthy shallow draft barge industry is vital to the well-being of the agriculture in the U.S. Midwest. This area is the world's most efficient and lowest cost producer of corn, soybeans and other crops because of the quality of its land, its favorable climate, and its well-developed production technology. Exports from this region provide the stocks to fill the world's food needs. This is true in times of stress from drought and other natural disasters, but also in ordinary times as a stable low-cost source of food and feedstuffs for consumers around the world. This paper examines the importance of maintaining barge networks throughout the United States, particularly the Midwest region, as a means of transporting agricultural goods throughout the United States.

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