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NGFA outlines waterways infrastructure needs in letter to congressional appropriators

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2017 — A total of 22 agricultural producer and agribusiness organizations that participate in the Agricultural Transportation Working Group today sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators asking for continued funding support in fiscal year 2018 to rebuild the nation’s declining inland waterways infrastructure.

“While the U.S. transportation infrastructure system long has provided U.S. agricultural producers and agribusinesses with a strong comparative advantage against foreign competitors, our waterways infrastructure system is falling behind,” stated the letter, signed by groups representing producers, grain handlers, millers, processors and exporters, feed manufacturers and agribusinesses. “Most locks and dams on the U.S. inland waterways system have surpassed their design life span of 50 years. Further, navigation channels at U.S. ports need to be deepened to accommodate larger vessels transiting through recently reopened and expanded Panama Canal.”

The groups listed specific action items they’d like to see from appropriators regarding U.S. waterways, including requests to:

  • Appropriate the full amount supportable by the barge diesel fuel tax going into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
  • Support, at a minimum, a funding level of $3.173 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operations & maintenance (O&M) budget, which helps support ongoing inland and coastal navigation activities.
  • Ensure that spending targets for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund codified in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 are met to cover O&M activities, such as harbor dredging, which would amount to approximately $1.33 billion.

“Our inland waterways and ports are true economic difference-makers that support American workers and help U.S. products reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders,” the letter concluded. “We appreciate your consideration of these appropriations requests, and thank you for your time and work on these critical infrastructure needs.”

View the letter to House appropriators and Senate appropriators.

Organizations signing the letters were:

Agricultural Retailers Association

Agriculture & Commodities Transportation Coalition
American Farm Bureau Federation

American Soybean Association

Corn Refiners Association

Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Barley Growers Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Corn Growers Association

National Farmers Union

National Grain and Feed Association

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Pork Producers Association

National Sunflower Association

North American Millers’ Association

Soy Transportation Coalition

The Fertilizer Institute

USA Rice

U.S. Canola Association

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association


The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 29 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and has strategic alliances with Pet Food Institute and North American Export Grain Association.


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