It seems like we’re constantly hearing about how the worst drought in decades is threatening barge shipping on the Mississippi River.
One day we’re facing a shutdown, the next day they say commerce will keep rolling on the river.
Here’s the latest: The Army Corp of Engineers says it’s done enough work to keep the waterway open until the end of this month.
After that, though, no one is making any promises, and that uncertainty is giving the shipping industry a lingering headache and could end up with local companies cutting jobs.
The worst U.S. drought in decades sizzled farmland last year and cost Illinois its spot as the nation's second-biggest corn producer.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture report on 2012 crops shows that Illinois slumped to fourth among corn-producing states. It was overtaken by Minnesota and Nebraska, while Iowa still heads the pack.
The USDA says Illinois farmers produced 1.3 billion bushels of corn in 2012. That's down from 1.9 billion bushels each of the previous two years.
St. Louis Public Radio is a service of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.