ARLINGTON, Va., June 26, 2023 — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today submitted written comments to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries detailing the benefits of the lower Snake River dams to the agricultural industry.
The subcommittee’s oversight field hearing in Richland, Wash., at 1 pm PDT will focus on the multipurpose benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, in particular the lower Snake River dams.
NGFA submitted the following statement:
“Barge transportation moves about half of all grain exports to export elevators and is critical to NGFA members in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia-Snake River System is the third-largest grain export corridor in the world, transporting nearly 30 percent of U.S. grain and oilseed exports.
“Breaching the Lower Snake River Dams in the Pacific Northwest would create severe economic harm to the entire U.S. agricultural value chain. Removing the Lower Snake River Dams will hurt producers and negatively impact the operations and livelihoods of NGFA members who have made investment decisions based on the ability to utilize barge transportation. In addition to the impact on agriculture in the Pacific Northwest and throughout much of the western and northern United States, reduced exports will have a tremendous negative impact on global food security, which has already been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“During a recent listening session held by the Federal Mediation Service, advocates of breaching the dams suggested barge traffic could be replaced by rail or truck transportation. The NGFA would like to clarify that the required infrastructure capacity simply does not exist, and it is highly unlikely that it could be created in an economically viable amount of time.
“Importantly for this discussion, barges are the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation for grains and oilseeds with one four-barge tow moving as much grain as 140 rail cars or 538 semi-trucks. This fact cannot be ignored in the debate about the environmental impacts of breaching the dams.”
The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 8,000 facilities handling 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 consists of 27 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.