IFB plans five meetings on lock closures

First meeting will be held July 12. Pre-registration with the hosting Farm Bureau is encouraged.

Illinois Farm Bureau will host a series of five meetings this summer to discuss impacts of the planned 2020 closures along the Illinois River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to close and repair six of the eight locks on the Illinois River in 2020. Most of the construction will be done between July 1 and Oct. 31, 2020, to avoid spring flooding season and fall harvest.

“The Illinois waterway is going to be completely shutdown, which will halt commercial navigation on the river,” said Kirby Wagner, IFB assistant director of transportation and local government. “That means commodities and other products that head down river, won’t be going down the river, and fertilizer and other chemicals and other inputs won’t be coming up river. There’s going to need to be some preparation done so farmers can be ready for the shutdown.”

The construction schedule also calls for a short closure at Starved Rock & Marseilles Lock later this year, and additional closures in 2023 at Dresden Island and Brandon Road.

Meetings will occur on the following dates:

* July 12, 9 a.m.; Dickson Mounds State Museum, Lewistown; hosted by Fulton County Farm Bureau.

* July 25, 8:30 a.m.; Birkey’s Farm Store, Henry; hosted by Marshall-Putnam Farm Bureau.

* July 26, 10 a.m.; 104 Grill, Meredosia; hosted by Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau.

* Aug. 5, 10 a.m.; GRAINCO FS Agronomy, Morris; hosted by Grundy-Kendall Farm Bureau.

* Aug. 6, 10 a.m.; Peoria County Farm Bureau, Peoria; hosted by Peoria County Farm Bureau.

Pre-registration with the hosting county Farm Bureau is encouraged.

Most of each meeting, Wagner said, will focus on marketing. Basis, crop storage and futures markets will be among the topics discussed during the two-hour program.

Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers will provide meeting participants with an overview of the planned repairs and construction timeline. GROWMARK officials will discuss expected transportation shifts caused by the closures.