The low water levels on the Mississippi River as well as higher diesel costs are also driving up shipping costs on the river which is a significant issue for agriculture. Barge rates are up 246% compared with rates from just a decade before and 282% more than they were in 2020. Lack of rain upstream in the Midwest is impacting Mississippi River levels. Long-term forecasts from the National Weather Service have the river continuing to drop to 10 feet below its normal stage through Nov. 3. The river’s main shipping channel is maintained at a depth of 9 feet from St. Louis to Baton Rouge, La., and 45 feet at Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, which allows cargo ships to go upriver. 


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