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.
Increasing use of railroads to ship crude oil could disrupt fertilizer cargo this spring as Midwest farmers prepare for planting, U.S. agriculture leaders warn, even as one railroad said on Monday it will take steps to ensure timely deliveries.
The slow rail service threatening the livelihood of farmers in the Upper Midwest has gotten better in recent weeks, but at the Forest River Bean Co., the railcars ordered from BNSF or Canadian Pacific are still two to three months behind, said the company president.
John H. Miller, vice president of agricultural products for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, answered lots of questions on April 9 in a meeting of the North Dakota Ag Rail Business Council in Fargo.
Among the efforts Miller mentioned are more passing lanes, double-tracking between Minot, N.D., and Glasgow, Mont., and new side tracks for passing
Train delays have been chronic all winter at Agassiz Valley and across the Midwest. Engines are running five to 10 days late, creating an increasingly costly backup. Farmers can’t haul grain from their farm storage to the elevator because the grain can’t move to market.
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