Corn growers applauded President Trump’s recent pledge to make rebuilding America’s infrastructure a national priority and committed to work with his Administration on the issue.
“It’s time to recapture our legacy as a nation of builders, and to create new lanes of travel, commerce, and discovery,” President Trump said at a speech in Cincinnati on the backdrop of the Ohio River.
Russel Schwenke, KyCorn Promotion Council member, thanked the President for calling attention to infrastructure issues.
“We rely on our infrastructure every day to get our products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently,” said Schwenke, a farmer from Union, Ky., which is located on the Ohio River. “Waterways, roads, and bridges are central to farmers’ efforts to feed and fuel the world, and we must invest in all of them.”
In his remarks, President Trump specifically called for upgrading the nation’s aging system of locks and dams—making him the first modern president to focus on this critical piece of the infrastructure puzzle.
“These critical corridors of commerce depend on a dilapidated system of locks and dams that is more than half a century old, and their condition… is in very, very bad shape. It continues to decay,” Trump said.
Nearly three-quarters of U.S. grain exports are transported to port via the U.S. river system, but most of the nation’s locks and dams have outlived their intended 50-year life spans. Breakdowns in the river infrastructure add to transport costs, some of which are passed on to farmers. Meanwhile, rural areas rely disproportionately on federal funding for infrastructure projects, underscoring the need for robust federal investment.
Schwenke was in attendance for US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s May 11 announcement to reorganize the USDA and name an undersecretary of trade.
“As we look to grow trade opportunities for Kentucky farmers, sound infrastructure is more important than ever. We appreciate the President’s interest in inland waterways and in the unique infrastructure challenges facing rural areas,” said Schwenke. “We thank the President for making this a top priority and look forward to working with his administration on the issue.”