The Northern Commodity Transportation Conference is encouraging agriculture to look at infrastructure needs and solutions. Crookston, Minnesota farmer Tim Dufault says county roads need fixed. “Usually the biggest discussion on a township level is how much gravel we’re going to buy and put on our roads. It’s important to keep minimum maintenance roads up to date.” Oakes, North Dakota farmer Scott German echoes that improvements need to be made in local infrastructure. “No one wants to pay for it, but everyone wants to have it. That’s the biggest challenge we face.” South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Lisa Richardson says the U.S. needs to be competitive. “How do we compete against Brazil and other places making huge investments in infrastructure?” A transportation issues panel addressed the status of a federal infrastructure package. Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Executive Director Kristin Meira says there is broad recognition things need to be done in Washington D.C., but there is no consensus on how to fund infrastructure needs. “Every year it’s the same thing. We know infrastructure dollars in the U.S. are dear, but if we can’t move things, our competitiveness is impacted.” Attendees asked if that is acceptable for the U.S. to let that dwindle. BNSF Railway Director of Feed Grains, Oilseeds and Feeds Rob Keller says it’s an issue that’s hard for some to wrap their heads around, but it is important that agriculture keep looking at ways to help.
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