New legislation introduced in the House, H.R. 1152, The Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act, would maintain the critical movement of goods during periods of extreme weather, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The Mississippi River is a critical national transportation artery on which hundreds of millions of tons of essential commodities are shipped, such as corn, grain, oilseeds and agricultural inputs,” AFBF President Bob Stallman wrote in a letter to sponsors of the bill, Illinois Rep. Bill Enyart and Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis.

“Recent low water events on the Mississippi River created great uncertainty for those who depend on our waterway systems. Whether it is low water conditions or devastating floods, we need to be proactive in planning and preparing to keep the Mississippi River open for commerce,” Stallman said. He praised the recently introduced legislation because it will improve understanding of the Mississippi River system while providing additional flexibility for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to respond to extreme weather events through better water management, improved river forecasting and more effective environmental management.

“An efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports is vital to America’s ability to provide affordable agricultural products domestically and to compete internationally,” Stallman concluded.