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Infrastructure investment turning point

Infrastructure investment turning point

OPINION  The bipartisan infrastructure bill is an historic investment in America’s agricultural infrastructure. American agriculture depends on trade, but trade depends on infrastructure. For too long we have seen our competitive advantage in infrastructure slip. This marks a turning point.

The package invests in America’s highways, waterways, ports, locks and dams in a way that will help us reassert American agricultural competitiveness. It will allow more ag product to arrive at market more quickly and efficiently. It will also help our infrastructure keep pace with ag production – something that’s essential at a time when supply chains are being severely challenged. This investment will also create jobs in rural America where they are urgently needed.

This is a win for American agricultural workers, trade and our economy. It will allow the United States to be a global leader going forward. We have been proud to fight for this package in communities across the country during the past year. Farmers for Free Trade’s network of farmer advocates have fought for passage of the bill throughout 2021.

Ken Boswell, soybean farmer from Shickley, Nebraska, said, “As a farmer I know how important this bill is to saving our family farms, keeping our products on the open market and putting ag first. Farm products like soybeans – America’s No. 1 agricultural export – rely on the health of our roads and bridges, rail systems and waterways – not to mention rural broadband connectivity – to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global market.”

Tyson Shoemaker, ag-production consultant from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, said, “A major reason to support this bill is jobs. Infrastructure jobs are blue-collar jobs that pay well. And that matters … We need to create opportunities for rural working-class jobs and this bill does it.”

Abbie Everist, senior manager at KCoe Isom from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said, “As any farmer will tell you, for farmers to succeed their product needs to arrive at market. That happens thanks to truck drivers, grain facilities, refineries, ships and cargo containers. But every aspect of the supply chain depends on a one thing – infrastructure. And that’s why farmers and ranchers across South Dakota are taking notice now that Congress is moving forward with an historic investment in infrastructure.”

Bob Hemesath, director for the National Corn Growers Association from Decorah, Iowa, said, “All our representatives need to recognize the essential nature of our roads, bridges, ports and waterways to farmers … Not only will the bill support good-paying jobs across our state in the actual construction phase, it will pay dividends for decades to come for Iowa agriculture.”

Brian Kuehl is the executive director of Farmers for Free Trade. Visit farmersforfreetrade.com for more information.

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