Smiling faces all around at the Ursa Farmer's Cooperative

Nearly seven inches of precipitation have hit parts of the Tri-State area since January. And all of that moisture has helped the area's low river stages get back to more of a normal stage this time of year.

Now we're seeing barges heading up and down the Mississippi River.

A year ago, temperatures were 70 degrees and there was no snow and little rain.

Gerald Jenkins is the general manager of the Ursa Farmer's Cooperative.

"So you know a few months ago there was a lot of concern, was there enough water to keep operating efficiently on the river system. We've had good snow fall to the north, so we've had good Midwestern rains here in our area and predominantly to the north," Jenkins said.

The barges that are loaded here in this area head south to New Orleans and other ports.

When the river level was low south of St. Louis, grain elevators in the Tri-State area couldn't load as much grain as they normally would.

So now that the river is back to more of a normal level there are plenty of sighs of relief right now.

"We've got access to all these bins and today is our day we're going to load our first barge out and we're loading beans today," Ursa Farmer's Cooperative Missouri facilities manager Roger Hugenberg said.

Hugenberg said for every barge that's loaded, there is a state certified grain inspector that signs off on the product before the barge is sent south to New Orleans.

The cooperatives Canton facility opened last December.