In June, The United Soybean Board (USB) announced a $2 million allocation to help offset the planning, design and research costs of deepening the lower Mississippi River from 45 ft. to 50 ft. There is a growing effort among Mississippi River stakeholders, including agriculture, to promote the dredging of the lower river shipping channel to 50 ft. in depth. The dredging project would help increase the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exporters ability to grow and market their crops.
The 256-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, LA to the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 60 of U.S. soybean exports, along with 59% of corn exports. The overall project is estimated to cost $245 million and would occur in three phases. Two of the phases will be cost-shared between the federal government (75%) and non-federal sources (25%).