Ag restrictions lifted on temporary BNSF railroad embargo


Ag restrictions lifted on temporary BNSF railroad embargo

The recent Amtrak train crash in Missouri and a New Mexico flash flood have had an impact on certain agricultural railroad shipments.

Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition tells Brownfield a temporary Burlington Northern Santa Fe embargo affected producers in the Midwest and in California at a time when rail transportation already has challenges. “The ability to have a viable livestock sector whether it’s in California or the southwest or the southeast or the south-central portion of the country, so many of those animals are fed grain and soybean meal that’s produced in the Midwest.”

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway says they implemented a temporary permit embargo last week on agricultural, automotive, and industrial commodities bound for California from 14 states including Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Tennessee.  As of Wednesday, the railroad has relaxed the embargo on fuels including ethanol and diesel as well as most crops, DDGs, potassium, corn syrup, and sugar.  Other types of shipments including automobiles remain restricted.

Steenhoek says, “Your average person will read or watch the news and see an Amtrak derailment. That doesn’t translate to them about how that’s going to make freight rail a challenge because, with the exception of the northeast corridor of the United States, the track is owned by the freight railroads.”