Wisconsin Soybean Board seeks more Great Lakes shipping infrastructure

The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board would like to see more utilization of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway for exporting crops.

Board member Steven Wilkens says on a clear day, he can see Lake Michigan from his southeastern Wisconsin farm. “Each year, Wisconsin grows 100-million-ish bushels of beans and a lot of those beans leave our state because we don’t have the crushing capacity, so anything that we can do to help get down to the end user more efficiently will help us create better demand.”

Wilkens says Milwaukee and Green Bay are the largest ports with the potential to expand ag commodity shipping, but there are possibilities up and down Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline. “I think there’s a really good pro-business minded approach that they’re taking where certainly, Milwaukee is the largest port that we have in Wisconsin on the eastern side, but anything and everything is on the table and fair game and open for business.”

Wilkens says the board is looking at ways to bring a soybean crushing plant into the state, but that would also create shipping opportunities on the Great Lakes for byproducts.

Better utilization of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for commodity exports was a topic at the recent Transportation GO! conference held in Omaha, Nebraska.

Steven Wilkens with the Wisconsin Soybean Promotion Board discusses Great Lakes shipping with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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