Soybean farmer describes how the low Mississippi River levels are impacting harvest season

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - 3 On Your Side is breaking down how the low Mississippi River is causing a hit to the pocketbook for different industries. We met with one farmer who has been forced to re-evaluate his usual harvest timeline.

The Mississippi River is getting so low that the domino effect reaches far beyond its sandy banks.

“We typically deliver our soybeans to Vicksburg,” described Ted Kendall, The Gaddis Farms President. “And, you know, within the last couple of weeks, they’ve either shut down the elevator there where we couldn’t deliver our very limited ability to take some beans in there.”

Ted Kendall’s farm managed to get half of its soybean crop to this grain elevator in Vicksburg. However, he knew there was a problem when a full truck returned last week saying they weren’t taking anymore.

“We had to figure it out quickly because soybeans when they’re ready to be harvested, you need to do it right away,” noted Kendall. “They deteriorate as they stay out in the field, especially if the weather turns bad. So we had to find a place for them.”

After some calls and quick thinking, and now they’re hauling to a facility in Greenwood, but that’s 60 miles from the farm.

“So 120-mile round trip in an 18-wheeler has added to the time and expense that we didn’t anticipate,” he explained. “We’re making two to three trips a day with a couple of different trucks, you know, about 800 bushels a load. It’s taken us three hours per load, more than we had anticipated, and when these machines are running, they don’t need to be waiting on trucks. That’s another part of it.”

To add to the hits, because the barge costs have gone up, Kendall says the grain elevators have lowered the price they’re paying farmers when they bring in the beans.

“I think most people are getting close to the end of the soybean harvest,” he added. “So I don’t see much help with the river before harvest is over.”

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