Thanks to the recent announcement by the Biden Administration, as well as Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray, conversations over removing the Snake River dams have intensified.  Michelle Hennings, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers said breaching of those four dams would be detrimental to local wheat growers, and the American ag industry as a whole.

She noted not only is 60% of the wheat crop grown in Washington is transported down the Columbia Snake River system, but 10% of all wheat raised in the U.S. travels down those waters, making the dams vital for wheat growers nationwide.  Hennings added many don’t appreciate that those dams allow the ag industry to utilize the barge system which is the cleanest mode of transportation, and allows local growers to be reliable for international customers.

“If we lose that system we will have to depend on trucks and rail, and if that happens as well, rail rates for the farmers will go through the roof.  It will increase transportation costs tremendously and that always hurts the bottom line of a farmer.  So, now you see another issue that we’re facing.”

Hennings added with those increased transportation costs, and the ongoing increase in input costs, she worries the removal of the dams would result in the loss of the small family farmer.

“We are price takers, we are not able to pass those costs on to consumers, we don’t want to pass those costs on to consumers, and that is something that I think that needs to be educated is that we cannot endure those costs when we have all of these other rising costs happening.”

Hennings noted when the conversation of the Snake River dams comes up, it’s vital science, and not emotion, is used to direct the conversation.

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