Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Farm leaders agree on railway problem, but no quick fix

  • Print

Canada agreed that slow grain shipment by rail is having a serious effect on grain farmers’ income.

Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) president Doug Chorney, Agricultural
Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) president Norm Hall and Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) president Lynn Jacobson participated in a panel discussion on Jan. 29 at KAP’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg.

Chorney identified the insufficient number of grain cars being available for rail shipments, which has caused a backup in country elevators, as a challenge for grain farmers. This means farmers can’t deliver the bumper crop of grain most harvested last fall.

"That’s created cash flow problems," he said.

The backlog has also led to discounted grain prices that are taking even more of a bite from farmers’ wallets.

"Farmers are bearing the brunt of these costs each day. We’re shell-shocked by what’s happened," he said, adding some grain prices have dropped between 30 and 35% in the past four or five months.

Hall said some Saskatchewan farmers have crop input loans coming due soon and they might have to ask for extensions if they can’t sell their grain.

Hall said rail problems must be dealt with on a long-term basis through establishing service-level agreements to deal with grain movement across Canada.

Jacobson and Hall agreed that part of the difficulty in adding extra rail capacity is
being caused by a worker shortage, as CN and CP Rail have decreased their crews in recent years. As most railway jobs require training, the companies can’t quickly bump up their employee levels.

Hall said he’s noticed that most trains travelling through the Wynyard area are made up of tanker, auto and container cars. "The last count I heard was that the railways were 40,000 cars short."

Rail companies have long-term contracts to move oil, potash and coal, so using more cars to haul grain isn’t easily done.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz recently announced that the government is contributing $1.5 million, to be matched by agricultural groups and elevator companies, for a five-year study designed to improve rail performance.

Facebook.com/TheHeadlinerWPG
Twitter: @CanstarHeadline

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

This Just In Twitter bird

Readers‘ Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

Make your choice in the Canstar Community News‘ Best of Winnipeg Readers‘ Choice Awards

Vote Now

Poll

Do you think cameras should be allowed in Manitoba courtrooms?

View Results

View Related Story