Mixed Emotions as Upper Mississippi Opens to Barge Traffic

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – The Army Corps of Engineers has partially opened the Mississippi River to barge traffic, but farmers in Iowa are still worried about the financial impact of the slow recovery of shipping on the waterway.

Dozens of barges have been at a standstill during this devastating flood season.

Robb Ewoldt tells the Quad-City Times that he has around $80,000 worth of soybeans in storage at his farm in Scott County, waiting to be shipped down the river. The halt to barge traffic is delaying farmers’ income and has prevented some from planting crops because fertilizer arrives by barge.

Doug Weber, a manager at shipping company Alter River Terminal Rock Island, says they usually ship one or two barges per day. But only a dozen barges have moved since traffic closed mid-March.