Rural Roads

This past week I’ve been on rural roads in 5 different states as I’ve visited production sites. While there has been quite a variation in the quality of the roads, etc. in all cases we had little difficulty in getting to production sites.

Probably the worst roads I was on were some roads in NW Iowa and SW Minnesota where they had over 2 ft of snow in late November on ground that wasn’t frozen. Snow removal equipment couldn’t be set very close to the road surface due to the ruts and underlying road conditions. Driving on these roads right now is like driving on rural roads during the spring thaw – really rugged. I did hear of a couple of instances where it has been a challenge to get feed trucks and pig transport vehicles to sites in this region because of the condition of the rural roads.
In our case, we’re hoping for a freeze up soon. Producers in this region are getting tired of mud every day.
I write about this because what we complain about right now would be considered good roads for many places in the work with livestock production. We’re all familiar with the stories from Brazil of the lack of a good interior road system and what that means to grain prices at a local level.

Because we have good roads (and roads at every section line for much of the upper Midwest) we have been able to develop 2 and 3 site production systems that involve transport of pigs between production sites in large numbers. We take it for granted that other than a few days each year access to the sites with transport vehicles won’t be a concern – it just happens.

One of the big production advantages the US producer has is the access to a reliable road system, even if we complain at times about localized conditions.

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