NAWG CEO Tours the Snake River in the Pacific Northwest
June 17, 2021
Washington, D.C. – This week, the National Association of Wheat Growers CEO, Chandler Goule, joined other national farm industry leaders on a tour hosted by Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and Idaho Grain Producers Association to learn about the critical role the lower four Snake River dams and the entire Columbia-Snake River system.
Each year, about 14 million metric tons of wheat destined for export move through the Columbia-Snake system. Over 60% of the cargo that moves on the Columbia Snake River System is high-quality U.S. wheat grown in our region and exported overseas. In fact, nearly 10% of all U.S. wheat exports travel by barge on the Snake River each year.
The tour also discussed the consequences of breaching the four lower Snake River dams which would make the Snake River system unnavigable for barges. Barges offer a safe, affordable, and low-emission mode of transportation for moving commodities to market. Without barging, over 38,000 rail cars or over 149,000 semi-trucks would be needed to move the cargo that was moved over the river in 2018.
“This opportunity to tour the PNW and see the river and dams up close provided a better understanding of the important role they play in the agriculture community in the Pacific Northwest,” said Chandler Goule. “Being able to experience this essential transportation system firsthand helps NAWG have a stronger voice on the Hill as we advocate for our farmers.”
NAWG and the state associations in the PNW have been active in educating members about the key role these dams play in not only the local economies, but how they keep our growers connected to the global economy. Exports are critical to U.S. wheat growers, and maintaining these locks and dams plays a vital role in ensuring our competitiveness, providing a safe and reliable mode of transportation, and are essential to the long-term viability of our industry throughout the region.