Ag leader says infrastructure investments in rail help farmers


Ag leader says infrastructure investments in rail help farmers

An agriculture leader says money from the new Infrastructure law will help improve the transportation of ag commodities.

Chuck Lippstreu with the Michigan Agri-Business Association tells Brownfield the law will invest more than 300-million dollars into freight rail infrastructure nationwide. “Frankly, this new rail investment can’t come soon enough for the agriculture sector that continues to both rely on rail but also face challenges in moving products by rail.”

Lippstreu says short-line railroads are essential for getting export products to the class one railroads, but he says it’s still challenging to get adequate rail service.  Lippstreu says the National Feed and Grain Association recently testified before the Surface Transportation Board about the problem. “The combined cost just to the grain industry in terms of lost revenue and additional freight expenses in the first quarter of this year totaled more than 100-million dollars.”

And, he says those extra transportation costs add up for the farmer and the grain elevator. “Too often with rail lines that have fallen into disrepair or have not been sufficiently repaired, we see situations where trains can’t move quickly, adding to the transit times and costs, and the uncertainty faced by the agricultural shippers so making sure that we invest in repairing the line we have is absolutely critical.”

Chuck Lippstreu discusses ag transportation with Brownfield’s Larry Lee