FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 25, 2017
Contact: Chuck Lippstreu, Byrum & Fisk Communications
Ag leaders voice concern regarding rail rates, reliability, impact on agriculture
Call for oversight follows summer of disruptions and delays by CSX
LANSING – The Agricultural Leaders of Michigan (ALM) today voiced concern regarding ongoing service issues with CSX railroad as harvest season nears for many Michigan-produced commodities. ALM praised action taken throughout the summer by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) to demand additional information and results from CSX.
Rail delays and uncertainty, along with increased rail costs, are impacting farmers and agribusinesses in Michigan and throughout the nation. The problems were amplified in recent days in a major report by the Wall Street Journal.
“Rail service has deteriorated throughout the summer, creating headaches across the agricultural supply chain,” said Gail Frahm, executive director of the Michigan Soybean Association. “In addition, increases in cost to transport products are ultimately passed on to farmers, reducing the income those farmers receive from their crops.”
Letters sent from the STB this summer have pressed CSX to respond to ongoing delays. In addition, several agricultural organizations weighed in with a letter last week praising the STB’s increased oversight, and calling for additional action to hold the railroad accountable.
“The STB’s work to resolve rail delays is particularly important as we approach harvest in Michigan,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “Rail transportation from CSX is critical to move the crop in a timely manner, and right now, grain handlers don’t know whether they can count on trains. The financial impact could be significant if there are additional delays in rail service.”
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Agricultural Leaders of Michigan is a coalition of agricultural, commodity and agribusiness leaders committed to promoting Michigan agriculture, participating in the ongoing dialogue about issues affecting our state, and harnessing agriculture’s power and potential to further grow Michigan’s economy. The coalition is made up of GreenStone Farm Credit Services; Michigan Agri-Business Association; Michigan Corn Growers Association; Michigan Milk Producers Association; Michigan Pork Producers Association; Michigan Soybean Association; and Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc. Learn more at www.agleadersmi.com.