Southern Storms Could Impact Iowa Grain Exports

Aug 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent tropical storm could cause shipping delays and damage to infrastructure that is necessary for Iowa’s agricultural exports.

About 60 percent of soybean and corn exports leave the U.S. from the lower Mississippi River. 

Mike Steenhoek is executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. He says prolonged rainfall along the Gulf Coast is delaying some barge unloading and ocean vessel loading.

Steenhoek says the rain is also washing out railroads and putting stress on bridges.

"I think when all is said and done, it’s going to be a pretty sober assessment of all of the areas that this storm has impacted, including our logistics system," Steenhoek says.

He says Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused problems for Iowa soybean farmers.

"For Iowa farmers, it should really serve as a reminder that their viability as a farmer, their profitability, is so strongly linked with the logistics chain that allows what they grow to get to our customers not only domestically, but halfway around the world," Steenhoek says. 

He says grain transportation issues need to be considered when major storms hit the Gulf of Mexico.