the film
Commentaries and editorials

Valley Needs Navigation

by Cole Riggers
Lewiston Tribune, December 3, 2017

The Washington State Grain Train recently acquired 29 more grain cars to help farmers get grain to export terminals I'm writing this letter in response to Janice

Inghram's Nov. 28 letter, stating farmers don't need dams for barging on the lower Snake River.

Janice, you are partially correct in stating that farmers in other areas ship grain without barging and remain in production. However, you don't really address the fact that we in north central Idaho are captive shippers.

The northern Palouse ships by rail because it is farther from the river and has elevators with access to main rail lines for shipment. This is the most economical route for Palouse farmers.

Montana also has multiple main rail lines and facilities capable of loading 110-car grain unit trains.

Being from Grangeville, I'm sure you've been to the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley multiple times. Have you noticed how limited transportation access to the valley is?

There is only one rail line out of the valley. And there is very little room, if any, for shuttle train-loading facilities.

If not for barging, the majority of the grain from here and the southern Palouse would have to be trucked all the way to the Columbia River, resulting in more traffic congestion, highway damage and higher shipping costs.

We farmers in this region are much farther away from the Columbia than the farmers you mentioned in your letter, and barging is the most economical route for us. The loss of barging for us captive shippers could very well raise transportation costs to untenable levels and be detrimental to local family farms.

Related Pages:
Huge Price to Pay by Linwood Laughy, Lewiston Tribune, 12/10/17
Farmers Don't Need Dams by Janice Inghram, Lewiston Tribune, 11/28/17

Cole Riggers, Craigmont
Valley Needs Navigation
Lewiston Tribune, December 3, 2017

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