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Mississippi River Dredging May Lift Area Crop Prices
USAgNet - 02/18/2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will devote $85.4 million to deepening the mouth of the river to 50 feet, enabling oceangoing ships to load more grain at terminals upriver. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a new project to dredge the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico could boost local prices for corn and soybeans in Minnesota, but when and by how much are a matter of debate.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last week it will devote $85.4 million to deepening the mouth of the river to 50 feet, enabling oceangoing ships to load more grain at terminals upriver.

That should drive down the cost of shipping and lift prices that elevators in the Midwest offer to farmers for goods.

The project, which could start this fall, would open a 50-foot channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Vacherie, a town just upriver from New Orleans. Nine of the 14 grain export terminals at the end of the river including sites owned by CHS Inc. and Cargill are on that stretch of the river.

The CHS Myrtle Grove terminal is the southernmost grain-loading facility on the river. Sarah Fakhari, the manager of that operation, said the shipping bottleneck is the Southwest Pass at the very mouth of the river, where ocean freighters enter a channel and the water is typically 47 feet deep. The depth of the pass determines how deep the water is at docks for terminals farther upriver.

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