Canton's ferry will never ride the Mississippi again

Canton's ferry will never ride the Mississippi River again

For years, the Canton ferry connected residents from northeast Missouri and Illinois. But as of this week, the ferry will no longer serve the community.

The ferry was pivotal in helping farmers transport grain across the Mississippi.

"The decision was a joint decision by both the Port Authority and Ursa Farmers Co-Op, the current operators of that ferry, to cease the operation of the ferry," Smith said.

William Smith is the Director of the Lewis County/Canton Port Authority.

Smith said the U.S. Coast Guard found serious flaws in the barge portion of the ferry.

At first, money was secured to fix the ferry, but other problems arose.

"We had previously allocated through the Missouri Department of Transportation funds to repair that ferry to the tune of about $250,000 dollars," Smith said. "Once the Coast Guard was able to get inside the barge and complete that inspection, we found there was additional $335,000 dollars worth of repairs that needed to be made."

Smith said the Port Authority contacted both Illinois and Missouri officials for additional funding, but there's no money available to pay for repairs.

Since 1993, Ursa Farmers Cooperative paid the operational costs of the ferry.

"Well, in it's history, it was used quite often because we had no physical elevator in northeast Missouri," Jenkins said. "So farmers would bring their grain across the ferry boat to our elevator in Meyer. In the past, it was not unusual for us to see three to four million bushesl of grain come across northeast Missouri."

General Manager of the Ursa Farmers Cooperative Gerald Jenkins said the ferry's closing will not cause many financial problems for Ursa Farmers Cooperative or its customers.

"Regarding Ursa Farmer's Co-Op and the operations and our membership, you know, we will continue to be able to service are membership very well," Jenkins said. "Within the last two years, we built an elevator in Canton, Missouri and we purchased the Gabe Logsdon & Son Elevator's last September."

"It's a bitter pill to swallow, it's been a part of our community for many, many years and we would, we're certainly going to miss the Canton ferry," Smith said.

William Smith said he hopes a new ferry will one day connect Illinois and Missouri, but there are currently no plans in place.