Rail shipment delays of feed, grain to the West Coast causing feed mills to shut down
The National Grain and Feed Association (NFGA) and USDA are asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to investigate rail disruptions for ag products.
NGFA’s Chief Economist Max Fisher tells Brownfield feed stocks and grain shipments are being delayed from the Corn Belt to the West Coast. “Just flat out not receiving enough grain in time to fill vessels and to make sure feed mills to have enough grain to meet demand for livestock and poultry.”
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says disruptions to agricultural shippers have become a constant problem and rail services are at a breaking point because railroads have downsized to focus on profitability.
Fisher says labor challenges are causing the disruption. “This is more of an issue just to make sure we have enough rail crews to pull these grain trains from the Midwest to the West. It’s more of a people issue than infrastructure.”
He tells Brownfield some feed mills have ran out of grain and shut down with sales being cut off to customers. “Some of these facilities out in California aren’t running at capacity and what that means overtime is less grain will be used, less demand and that has an impact on price.”