updated 11/6/2007 6:35:39 PM ET 2007-11-06T23:35:39

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 6, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) expressed elation that Members of the House of Representatives acted quickly today to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA). The House vote was 361 to 54 and 18 members were not present to vote.

"This is great! We have worked so hard and so long to get improvements on the Upper Mississippi River System authorized," said Ron Litterer, president of the NCGA and a corn grower from Greene, Iowa. "We especially want to thank the members and staff of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who have worked so hard on this landmark legislation under the leadership of Chairman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota and Ranking Member John Mica of Florida."

The NCGA and other organizations continue their efforts to encourage the U.S. Senate to likewise take quick action on overriding the president's veto. Contacts from corn growers to their Senators are vitally important, Litterer said.

"We have one final and vital step in this process -- the Senate action that is expected tomorrow," he said. "Let's not drop the ball now."

In a letter to Congress, the NCGA and other organizations stated that, in the seven years since the Congress passed the last WRDA bill, a significant number of needs have arisen for our nation's inland waterways. This WRDA bill addresses many of those issues by authorizing critical projects on the inland waterways, including the modernization of seven locks along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River, a project that will dramatically improve our ability to deliver crops to the global marketplace. Additionally, WRDA addresses issues such as environmental restoration, port modernization, flood control, hurricane protection, water supply, irrigation and beach nourishment and recreation.

According to Litterer, America's inland navigation system plays a critical role in our economy, moving more than 1 billion tons of domestic commerce valued at more than $300 billion. More than 1 billion bushels of grain (approximately 60 percent of all grain exports) move to export markets via the inland waterways each year, accounting for $8.5 billion in exports.

"For continued success, U.S. farmers need efficient transportation networks, which is why corn growers have been long-time advocates for improvements to our inland waterway system," Litterer wrote. "As with our highways and interchanges, the purpose of modernization on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers is to make the entire system more efficient."

Copies of NCGA and joint letters to the House and Senate are available at www.ncga.com/letters.

The National Corn Growers Association's mission is to create and increase opportunities for corn growers. NCGA represents more than 33,000 members and 48 affiliated state organizations and hundreds of thousands of growers who contribute to state checkoff programs. For more information on NCGA, log on to www.ncga.com.

PrimeNewswire, Inc. 2007

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