River levels weighing on farmers’ bottom line

Record low water levels on the Mississippi River are weighing on the bottom line of farmers.

American Soybean Association Vice President Daryl Cates farms near the river in Columbia, Illinois. He tells Brownfield if they don’t get significant moisture in the next few weeks, levels could fall 6 ft below normal.

“I’m not used to having a negative basis in St. Louis and if it goes that low, they could definitely knock the basis off and knock the price of our grain down.”

Fellow ASA board member Rob Shaffer of El Paso, Illinois says while he has heard of minor improvements further south, the waterway is far from transporting goods at normal capacity.

“It hurts my bottom line. It hurts of a lot of people’s bottom lines when they cant run at full efficiency. Plus that is one of the only advantages we have over South America- our interstates and navigable waterways.”

Both agree that many farmers cannot afford a negative basis and slowed exports on top of record high input costs heading into the 2023 season.

Brownfield interviews Cates and Shaffer during Trade Talk at the 2022 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.

Interview with Daryl Cates
Interview with Rob Shaffer

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