Ethanol plants anxious for rail dispute to be settled

Many ethanol plants are nervous as railroad companies and labor unions remain at odds.

Brian Kletscher is CEO of Highwater Ethanol in south-central Minnesota and says facilities like his are dependent on rail.

“We’re really paying close attention to what the rail industry is doing. We’re fortunate to have the PC going through our plant (and) I believe they settled a long time ago. But it does impact when we get to BNSF and those other major rail lines.”

He anticipates another rail strike in late November if an agreement can’t be reached.

“So that can tremendously affect not only the ethanol industry but corn and soybeans going out to the world markets also, and it just has a tremendous impact on everything. So we’re hopeful (a strike can be avoided).”

Several major railroad companies are at odds with the third-largest union over paid sick leave and union organizers are threatening to strike again.

Kletscher made these comments during Brownfield affiliate KNUJ’s Farm Forum earlier this month.

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