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Johnson Advocates for Agriculture at Mississippi River Commission

Monday, March 26, 2012 | 11:08am

- Ag Commissioner Calls for Restoration of Levees, Tributaries and Dams -

TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. – State Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today called for the restoration of the levee system and for support of the West Tennessee tributaries project in a meeting of the Mississippi River Commission in Tiptonville, Tenn.

“The importance of maintaining access to markets for agricultural commodities via the Mississippi River cannot be overstated,” Johnson said. “The recent funding and development of the deep sea port at Cates Landing, for example, will undoubtedly provide Tennessee farmers and agribusinesses with a significant competitive advantage in the world market.”

Johnson’s comments were made as part of the commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ annual High Water Inspection Trip from Tiptonville to New Orleans March 26-30. The commission advises the Corps on planning and improvements to the river system.

Johnson praised the Corps’ longtime partnership with landowners and the West Tennessee River Basin Authority to keep West Tennessee farmland productive through maintenance of the region’s tributary system.

“I applaud the Corps for its support of the West Tennessee Tributaries Project and urge your continued funding of this project,” Johnson said. “While the Corps should consider the use of natural floodways and wetlands where appropriate, rebuilding the system of levees that landowners have depended upon for generations is crucial.”

Johnson also expressed concern over the Tennessee Valley’s aging dams and locks. “With aging infrastructure and an expected increase in barge traffic from future grain exports, investing in our river systems is more important than ever … We support the Corps efforts to repair and improve our river infrastructure and join in urging Congress to provide adequate funding.”

More information about the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Johnson’s complete statement can be found online at

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