Illinois soybean farmers last Monday stressed the need to "find a way" to fix current infrastructure problems that limit efficient and effective movement of goods, including soybeans.
Backed by soybean checkoff-funded research just released by the Illinois Soybean Association, farmer sentiments reflect identified challenges and opportunities to fixing deteriorating infrastructure.
"Illinois roads are in disrepair. Many bridges are impassable by modern farm equipment because of weight restrictions, and river locks are crumbling after being in service since the Great Depression," says Ron Kindred, soybean farmer from Atlanta and ISA director.
Kindred explains that in order to reach ISA's goal of utilizing 600 million bushels by 2020, soybean production needs to increase about 30%. But the infrastructure may not support it.
"This is a national issue. We stand to lose millions of dollars if solutions aren't found," Kindred says. "ISA is using the study results to transition from simply talking about potholes to finding ways to fix them."
Transportation is second only to animal agriculture as an ISA priority.
"It is ultimately the farmer who suffers from these problems," says Ken Eriksen, senior vice president, Informa Economics, Inc., a Memphis-based research firm that conducted part of the research. "Lower transportation capacity means higher rates, which means lower farmer returns."