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Barges can move cargo with less fuel than a truck or train. But environmental experts are skeptical of emissions calculations.
"Even though our business is good, we're not seeing any growth," said Austin Golding, CEO of Golding Barge Lines in Mississippi.
The river is a critical pathway for all kinds of agricultural products, including grains and soy beans.
Since the river isn't as deep as it normally is, some barges have had to lighten their loads.
April Hemmes was in the "Goldilocks spot" when it came to weather.
Austin Golding says his family's barge business was able to plan ahead, but it's still costing the company money and productivity.
"They hate her when they're with her and they miss her when they're gone" said Melody Golding, author of a new book about America's riverboat pilots.
At the intersection of trade and tariffs ... the Mississippi River has seen it all.
Minnesota is trying to limit runoff carried by the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.