(Posted Fri. Sep 5th, 2014)
The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments to the Surface Transportation Board on the ongoing railroad service problems impacting corn growers. The comments, which detailed shipping delays and the industry-specific nuances of grain shipment, provided insight into the negative repercussions railroad delays have on family farmers.
“Based on the large railroad volumes of corn and corn products and relatively short peak seasonal shipping periods, timely and efficient railroad service is obviously extremely important for corn producers and shippers,” the association stated, summarizing the situation farmers face in regard to rail shipments. “NCGA members have been adversely impacted by recent railroad delays and service problems, particularly on BNSF and CP, and we are worried about the railroads abilities to provide timely and efficient service during the upcoming fall harvest and heavy shipping period.”
While the comments noted instances of recent improvements, NCGA concluded with a call for continued scrutiny and, if circumstances dictate, direct action to ensure American farmers ability to get their crops to market.
“Despite BNSF’s recent improvements, the past due car orders remain high, especially in North Dakota, and Bakken oil and sand shipments continue to increase. NCGA is worried about the railroads abilities to provide timely and efficient service during the upcoming fall harvest and heavy shipping period. As a result, we urge the Board to continue to carefully monitor BNSF’s and CP’s grain service through the fall harvest and take additional actions, if needed.”
To read the full comments as submitted, click here.
In addition to the filing, NCGA Director of Production, Stewardship and Livestock Max Starbuck attended the STB field hearing held on this matter yesterday in Fargo, N.D. During the session, speakers reported on service problems in the United States rail network, rail industry executives explained their efforts to address service problems, and the group discussed additional options to improve service. NCGA Corn Board member Kevin Skunes, who farms in North Dakota, presented on behalf of his state’s organization with additional representation from both the North and South Dakota Corn Growers Associations also in attendance.