TFI’s Chris Jahn on Infrastructure Needs: Don’t Forget About Rural America

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May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn helped kick off Infrastructure Week by participating in a panel titled “Building a Rural Renaissance: Connecting America through Infrastructure.” Jahn’s panel was part of a special event held in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station to mark the beginning of the 6th annual Infrastructure Week.

“Rural infrastructure is critical to both the fertilizer industry and our nation’s farmers,” Jahn said. “Getting fertilizer to farmers where and when they need it is crucial for crop yields, and we need a robust infrastructure network that includes road, rail, waterways, and ports and harbors.”

Jahn noted that America’s crumbling infrastructure is hurting the fertilizer industry’s ability to deliver fertilizer to customers. “We have truck drivers in places like the Dakotas that are waiting in line for up to 11 hours to pick up their fertilizer due to bottlenecks and breakdowns in the system,” said Jahn. “Delays anywhere along the route add to the price consumers pay for goods. Everyone is affected by higher prices.”

Jahn pointed out that many of the problems stem from the bureaucracy of federal regulators and a prolonged permitting process. “We all have safety and environmental stewardship as top priorities, but federal regulations have grown out of control. Regulations are often duplicative and do nothing to enhance worker safety or environmental protections,” said Jahn. “They just add to the cost of doing business and needlessly delay economic progress.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao echoed Jahn’s sentiments in a keynote immediately following Jahn’s panel, stating that permit streamlining and regulatory reform can enhance innovation and progress without negatively impacting safety or environmental protections.

Jahn was joined on his panel by other voices and experts on rural America, including: J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy; Mark Stodola, Mayor of Little Rock, Ark. and President of the National League of Cities; Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and moderator Tom Smith, Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Infrastructure Week is an annual week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens to elevate infrastructure investment as a critical issue impacting America’s economy, society, security and future.

Jahn participated on the panel in dual roles as President of The Fertilizer Institute and as Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations.

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI at TFI.org. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org.