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Missouri Farm Exports in Danger Due to Hurricane Katrina.

September 8, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

Hurricane Katrina has halted much of the barge traffic on the Mississippi River. Because of this, it is unclear how crops from Missouri farmers will get to market.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The North American Export Grain Association is estimating that barge traffic is currently operating at only 10% of its normal capacity. Missouri Farm Bureau spokesman Garrett Hawkins says that exports may need to travel in different directions.

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"We've got to have a way to get this crop out. So folks will be looking at alternative modes, whether is rail or truck. But both of those modes are quite a bit more expensive."

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It is estimated that nearly 400 barges are missing in the Gulf region and it is not clear when export levels will be back to normal.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker

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As Missouri farmers prepare for harvest season, they may have to find another way to export their crops.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 55% of grain exports travel down the Mississippi River each year. However, due to Hurricane Katrina the North American Export Grain Association is estimating that barge traffic is currently operating at only 10%. Missouri Farm Bureau spokesman Garrett Hawkins says that the New Orleans port is vital to Missouri farm exports

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OutCue: some of our other commodities out.
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"About 62% of our corn and soy bean exports originate from the New Orleans port area. So the Mississippi River represent a major artery for getting our corn and soybeans and also some of other commodities out."

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It is estimated that nearly 400 barges are missing in the Gulf region, and it is not clear when export levels will be back to normal.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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Hurricane Katrina has disrupted barge traffic on the Mississippi River and this could make it harder for Missouri farmers to export their grain.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Missouri Farm Bureau spokesmen Garrett Hawkins says that

nearly 62% of grain exports go through New Orleans. But Hurricane Katrina has all but stopped traffic on the Mississippi River. Hawkins does say that progress is being made to get the barges moving again.

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OutCue: "clearing the channel"
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"We have heard that daylight travel is being allowed but people aren't allowed to operate at night due to extensive damage to navigation buoys. But I think they are making progress in clearing the channel."

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The Department of Agriculture says that Hurricane Katrina has caused at least $2 billion dollars in damage to farm related industries and Hawkins says that this could mean higher grain prices.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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Hurricane Katrina has disrupted barge traffic on the Mississippi river, and it is not clear when traffic will be back to normal.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The Missouri Farm Bureau estimates that nearly 400 barges are currently missing in the Gulf area and that barge traffic is operating at only 10% capacity. Dan Mecklenborg, Senior Vice-President of the Ingram Barge Company says that the company's production has been limited.

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"Normal loading and unloading activity down in the New Orleans area came to a halt and now is only a trickle of what normally is a very heavy volume."

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The Missouri Farm Bureau says that 62% of corn and soy bean exports travel through New Orleans from the Mississippi River. This could mean that Missouri farmers will have a more difficult time exporting their goods.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker