BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 20, 2022 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its spend plans outlining the specific inland waterways projects that were allocated funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Package). A significant priority for soybean and grain farmers was the $732 million designated to complete the design and construction of the Lock and Dam 25.
The $829 million funding for the Mississippi River locks and dams is part of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program or NESP which will be used to complete the modernization of Lock & Dam 25, including the construction of a new 1,200-foot lock, as well as an environmental restoration project at Lock & Dam 22 and other small-scale ecosystem and navigation projects in the region. This project would enable a typical fifteen barge tow – transporting over 800,000 bushels of soybeans – to transit the lock in one single pass which is a 30-45 minute process compared to disassembling the barge tow into two sections, which will result in two passes and take over two hours.
“This announcement is an enormous win for the transportation of Illinois soybeans,” says Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Director of Market Development, Andrew Larson. “The Lock 25 project is the right first step towards bringing these much-needed improvements to other locks in the NESP plan including LaGrange lock and dam which is the next project to be authorized. We are grateful for the dedicated efforts of Congresswoman Bustos, Senators Durbin and Duckworth, and other legislative advocates who worked to see this project into fruition.”
According to ISA Chairman, Steve Pitstick, this investment is the result of dedicated collaboration and pooled resources among Illinois ag groups. “ISA and Illinois Corn Growers worked together to support the Waterways Council’s education campaign, and to be very vocal about the need for this funding allocation. ISA joined the Soy Transportation Coalition and other soybean groups to help bundle funds to help move the pre-engineering and design work on Lock 25 forward.”
Adds Pitstick, “These long overdue modernizations to the waterways will replace a system that was designed over 100 years ago, enabling today’s Illinois farmers to continue to remain competitive and send their products to customers around the world.”
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications
Illinois Soybean Association