Rail strike would impact farmer profitability

A looming railroad strike could have devastating consequences on growers harvesting crops and relying on transportation.

Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, says a rail strike would impact farmer profitability by disrupting an already stressed supply chain.

“They are often the recipients of the consequences of that in the form of a lower price at point of sale, or a more negative basis, or they have to maybe resort to another alternative delivery that might be more costly for them,” Steenhoek said.

Rail unions have until November 19th to reach a labor agreement after they rejected a tentative deal brokered by President Biden in September.

Steenhoek says the freight rail system is vital to the success of growers in the US. “Thirty percent of our soybean exports get transported to those export terminals via rail,” he said.

According to the Association of American Railroads, a rail strike would cost the US economy $2 billion daily. Congress could prevent a stoppage if a deal isn’t ratified by all 12 unions.

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