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Published April 16, 2014, 09:05 AM

STB orders railways to develop a plan to ship fertilizer for spring planting

On April 15, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board announced it would direct Canadian pacific Railway and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to report by April 18 their plans to make sure fertilizer is delivered to farmers for spring planting.

By: Agweek Staff Report,

On April 15, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board announced it would direct Canadian pacific Railway and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to report by April 18 their plans to make sure fertilizer is delivered to farmers for spring planting.

“The Surface Transportation Board did the right thing today by requiring the railroad industry to provide answers and soon,” said U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. “North Dakota farmers have serious deadlines coming up and we need to know that their fertilizer will arrive in time. This is a needed step that I hope will lead to rail service improvements so farmers can access supplies for a strong start to the planting season.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said, “I am encouraged by this decision from STB which recognizes the urgency of spring planting. While this may help farmers get the fertilizer they need, there are still unacceptable delays for shipping grain and other products to market. This is one of the most significant infrastructure challenges we face in the growing North Dakota economy, and I continue to be personally engaged in the situation.”

South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch also applauded the STB’s move, saying, “It is clear that engagement from farmers, shippers, (South Dakota) Gov. (Dennis) Daugaard and our congressional delegation demonstrated the scope of this important issue to the STB.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the action is an acknowledgement of the narrow window for planting. BNSF and CP need to develop a plan to devote enough resources to meet their obligations to their clients, he said.

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