Earlier this week, U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota sent a letter to USDA calling for an economic analysis of rail service challenges facing agricultural shippers. The senators called for Secretary Tom Vilsack to conduct the study citing recent testimony by USDA officials stressing the significance of the current rail situation facing agriculture producers and grain elevators, particularly in parts of the Upper Midwest. The Senators requested the analysis to include “the ongoing transportation challenges facing producers and agricultural end users in our region, including food processors, livestock producers, and ethanol refiners.”
Specifically in South Dakota, Senator Thune says the Surface Transportation Board needs to hold railroads accountable for the backlog of railcars and locomotives at a time when the fall harvest is predicted to be record setting. The Senators pointed to a University of Minnesota report indicating that transportation bottlenecks cost the state’s farmers almost $100 million between March and May of this year. The same report also suggested the potential for another $124 million in lost revenue due to lagging rail service.
Source: NAFB News