BLOOMINGTON, Ill. | The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released its FY23 Work Plan for allocating funds provided in the FY23 Energy & Water Development (E&WD) appropriations bill. The E&WD appropriations legislation funds the USACE Civil Works mission in addition to U.S. Department of Energy programs.
Specifically, the plan calls for $49,300,000 ($12,255,000 from IWTF) in navigation dollars be used for preconstruction engineering and design for the 1,200-foot chamber at LaGrange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River. The LaGrange Lock & Dam project is the next project to start in the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP).
Steve Pitstick, Illinois Soybean Association Chairman, is encouraged by the announcement and the impact it will have for Illinois farmers. “The modernization and improvements to our inland waterway system are long overdue. With over 60 percent of our crop exported annually, Illinois is the top soybean exporting state in the U.S. Barge transport's cost and environmental efficiency is unparalleled. The NESP program balances the need for new 1200-foot locks to increase operational certainty and develop sustainable ecosystems on the Illinois River.”
Continues Pitstick, “After many years of working with the Corps and stakeholders, it is a great sign for farmers and other river shippers to see this next major step towards realizing much needed improvements to waterways infrastructure.”
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.