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Study: ND farmers have lost $66 million in revenue because of rail delays

According to a North Dakota State University study, North Dakota farmers have lost about $66 million as a result of agriculture shipment delays. U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, (D-N.D.) asked NDSU to conduct the study, which also found that if conditio...

According to a North Dakota State University study, North Dakota farmers have lost about $66 million as a result of agriculture shipment delays.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, (D-N.D.) asked NDSU to conduct the study, which also found that if conditions don't improve, farmers could stand to lose an additional $95 million in income.

"This report confirms what I have been stressing to government regulators and the railroad industry: The problems with ag shipments are threatening the livelihood of the thousands of North Dakotans who are involved in agriculture," says Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "I thank the talented researchers at NDSU for putting together this information, which reinforces why we need to help our farmers get their supplies and move their crops to market."

The $66.6 million loss in North Dakota farm revenue is for wheat, corn and soybean crops that were sold from January through April 14. Wheat, corn and soybeans are three of the largest crops by acreage planted in North Dakota. All three rely heavily on freight rail transportation to be moved to market.

"This analysis was limited to spring wheat, corn and soybean, and does not include potential losses for the sale of durum wheat, barley, sunflower, canola, field pea, lentils, dry edible beans, flax, oats or food grade soybeans," the study says. "There was not enough readily available information to include these extra crops in the analysis. In addition, this analysis does not include the increased costs incurred by North Dakota agricultural businesses to transport processed agricultural products out of the state. Examples include refined sugar, ethanol, dried distillers grains, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, semolina flour and pasta, barley malt, canola and sunflower oil, and canola and sunflower meal."

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