In this July 25, 2014 photo, the owner of Stockland Grain Co. in Stockland, Ill., says this small bridge just west of town is widely used by farmers trying to reach the company's elevator. But the little bridge won't handle fully loaded trucks, forcing farmers to make extra trips and spend extra money. The trade groups that represent soybean farmers say bridges like this all across the country need improvement and they're hoping a campaign to focus attention on this critical piece of the transportation infrastructure they rely on will pay off with better bridges and a better understanding among government decision-makers of their importance to farmers. (AP Photo/David Mercer)

Bridges key piece to toting big soybean harvest

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STOCKLAND, Ill. (AP) -- Small bridges across the soybean-growing Midwest can't handle fully loaded farm trucks.

The Soy Transportation Coalition and other soybean-industry trade groups are focusing on those obscure bridges as part of a multimillion-dollar campaign to try to improve the transportation infrastructure farmers use.

That push has greater meaning this year with soybean prices dropping and farmers looking at less money from crops.

Farmers west of the grain elevator in Stockland, Illinois, can either haul less-than-full loads across a small concrete bridge or drive farther to go around the bridge. Elevator owner Sonny Metzinger says either way it costs them more money.

The soybean groups say sometimes working on such bridges is a tough sell to government agencies with limited funding.

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