Mississippi River levels ‘an areas of focus’ in 2024

An ag transportation expert says he’s concerned about the summertime shipment of ag goods along the Mississippi River despite a recent rebound in water levels.

Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, says, “The reality is it’s not going to require a prolonged period of dry conditions to all of a sudden see those water levels retreat a bit more.”

In February, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced that drought conditions along the river were officially over. The lower water levels began in September of 2022.

Steenhoek tells Brownfield a large amount of land in the Midwest remains severely dehydrated. “So, what that means is if we do receive precipitation, most of that will get absorbed into the farm ground which is important for the farm ground, but there won’t be a lot of residual water available to really sustain and improve the conditions on the inland waterway system.”

While river levels increased the past few months, he says gauge readings have been considerably lower compared to recent years of 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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