A buoy used to help guide barges rests on the bank after the water level dropped on the Mississippi River July 18, 2012 near Wyatt, Mo. Some barge operators lightened their loads or stopped running altogether on the lower Mississippi because of low water levels.
A buoy used to help guide barges rests on the bank after the water level dropped on the Mississippi River July 18, 2012 near Wyatt, Mo. Some barge operators lightened their loads or stopped running altogether on the lower Mississippi because of low water levels. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

You probably remember the drought from this summer. It baked the Midwest and badly damaged the crops of farmers across the country. But if you thought we were done with all that, think again.

Now the Mississippi River is feeling the effect of scarce rainfall. And that's making it harder to transport goods up and down the river.

Austin Golding is a third-generation co-owner of Golding Barge Line, a barge transportation company in Vicksburg, Miss. The company was started in the 1960s by Golding's grandfather. He says things are bad now, but could soon get much worse.

"We're reaching is a stage where if we don't get any rain in a matter of weeks... the upper Mississippi River will have to be shut down because there's not a navigable channel," says Golding. "So I'd say we're reaching critical stage at this point."

Golding's company ships refined petroleum products like gasoline, but shipping companies use the Mississippi river to transport a wide range of goods including agricultural commodities. He's hoping the Army Corp of Engineers will release water held up in dams further upstream.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal