The “crisis on the rails” has farmers paralyzed

Emergency hearings will continue today with the Surface Transportation Board and will address what ag leaders call “a crisis on the rails.”

Dozens of groups are sharing their stories with STB about how delays and costs are impacting their availability to ship their product. The American Farm Bureau says that farmers are paralyzed and it is one more obstacle in the supply chain that has been going on for years.

“One metric that can better reveal rail service disruptions and how fluidly grain cars are moving through the rail network is the number of unfilled grain car orders. Between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, the number of these unfilled orders jumped from 93,000 to 137,000 cars, a nearly 50 percent increase,” according to Andrew Walmsley, AFBF’s Senior Director of Governmental Affairs.

The Farm Bureau says that a handicapped railway puts profitability at risk and called for STB to get the issue resolved before harvest. The rail companies say that one of the biggest problems is the labor shortage, including workers with years of experience.


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