barge traffic

Mississippi River Water Levels Remain at Near-Record Low

Dan This Land of Ours

Low water levels continue to lead to shipping problems. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Photo by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash

The Mississippi River has 27 U.S. Geological Survey streamflow gages reporting levels below the low water threshold category as of Thursday. A new record-low level was reported in Memphis, Tennessee, beating the previous record set in 1988.

The low water levels are a result of drought in the Mississippi River basin and come at a critical time for the shipping of crop harvests. The river serves as a major shipping route for most of the nation’s soybean and corn, as well as other grains grown in the central U.S. While some barges are stuck or stranded, others are moving cargo at reduced capacity to allow for travel through the river’s low water levels.


Closures along the river have also led to major backups of shipping vessels. It’s especially hard on the soybean industry because September through February accounts for 80 percent of U.S. soybean exports. Meanwhile, there’s no expected relief in the forecast and drought is expanding across the Midwest.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land of Ours program here.

Mississippi River Water Levels Remain at Near-Record Low

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.