The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Saskatchewan farmers groups to hold meetings to discuss grain backlog

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REGINA - There may not be a strike at CN Rail, but it doesn't change the fact there's still a major backlog getting the record crop to port.

"That would have been the icing on the cake, wouldn't it have?" says a relieved Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, which is planning two symposiums later this month to gather the facts about this year's transportation issues.

"What we need to do is put some real numbers to the conversation that's happening at the coffee shop."

For example, Hall says the last numbers he's received are 39 ships waiting at Vancouver, while Prince Rupert had 18 waiting. In a typical year, there might be 18 between the two of them. And as of a couple of weeks ago, the railways were 40,000 cars behind in shipping, which would mean four million tonnes.

Hall says the producers hurting the most are those who didn't contract ahead of time, have to in January and February for whatever reason and can't get a contract now, or if they do, it's at rock-bottom prices.

Hall wants firm information to be able to confront federal politicians with when they meet later this month.

The two symposiums are planned for Feb. 18 in Assiniboia, and Feb. 19 at Humboldt.

(CJME)

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