Articles, Blog

Agriculture: How Transportation Keeps U.S. Farmers Competitive in a Global Market

August 11, 2019

NARRATOR: A thriving U.S.
agricultural sector depends on delivering products
to international markets faster and more reliably
than our competitors overseas. Soybean production
shows how the U.S. multi-modal
transportation network is critical
to the agricultural sector. – Well, we’ll come in,
we’ll harvest these beans, we load them in our trucks. We take them up the road
to the elevator. The elevator loads
them in trains. Trains, in this case,
take them to the river. And barges take them
down the river to the gulf, and then they’re loaded up
into the canal and over to — most of them,
to Asia of course, and– When those soybeans
are ready to harvest, you’ve got to harvest it,
or you’re gonna lose the year. – Agriculture in general and the
soybean industry in particular, has– has the most elongated
and diverse supply chain of any industry in existence. When your customers are located
next door to you, transportation
isn’t that consequential to your profitability. But when your customers are located
halfway around the world, transportation
becomes essential. So, you have to have
that connectivity. NARRATOR: World population
growth is greatly increasing demand for food. But getting food to markets is
a huge transportation challenge. – Agriculture
is a 21st century industry utilizing an early 20th century rural infrastructure. – Most of the bridges
on our rural roads here were built back in the ’30s. And there were a lot
of horse and wagons. And the big truck was the truck that hauled five tons. Now, you know,
we’ll take a semi that will haul
72,000 or 80,000 pounds. But the bridge
won’t withstand the weight. So they have
to put a limit on it. You may be sitting right here within two miles
of the elevator, but you can’t cross a bridge, so you drive ten miles around
to get unloaded. NARRATOR:
Reliable transportation is key for the U.S. to remain competitive internationally. – If you’re going to China, or
you’re going to Asia someplace, and it’s ten days late, that means the people
don’t have the food they need. – They just want to make sure
that when they buy a shipload of soybeans, that it arrives at
their doorstep as anticipated. That’s been
the secret to our success, and if we don’t continue
to invest in our infrastructure, that competitive advantage
will erode. – South America especially, they produce
just as good a soybean, they’ve got as good
a soil as we’ve got. But where we really succeeded, we can get our inputs in
on a more timely basis because of our infrastructure. We can get our products– our soybean moved out
on a timely basis and that’s where we’ve really
got the big advantage. But we’re losing if we don’t get
our infrastructure up to speed. ♪♪♪ [music fades out]

No Comments

Leave a Reply