Fallen structures, electrical wires and damaged barges are still clogging the lower Mississippi River, but Louisiana Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says he expects the main artery for U.S. ag exports to be at least partially open for traffic in five days or less.

Some grain elevators and terminals are still operational in the wake of Hurricane Ida, but many are not, and getting them up and running is a top priority, Strain told Agri-Pulse in an interview Friday.

“We’re all very aware that we have to get these export facilities up and open in order to receive the corn, get it moving so we can get the soybeans in the bins,” he said.

The damages from the storm are impacting all agriculture shippers that depend on the Mississippi River, but the effects are being felt especially hard by Louisiana farmers, many of whom had already begun harvesting soybeans when the hurricane hit.

The Cargill elevator and terminal in Reserve, La., took major damage from Ida, says Avery Davidson, spokesman for the Louisiana Farm Bureau.

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A conveyor system from the elevator to the terminal used to stretch over Louisiana Highway 44. Now it lies crumpled on top of the highway.

But other elevators and terminals just need power restored, says Strain.

“If you look at the sheer volume of destruction, it is a logistical issue,” he said.

These are all issues that the commissioner said he stressed to Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who meets Friday with President Joe Biden to discuss the damages and recovery efforts.

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