Harvest in Iowa is nearing the finish line. As the monster corn crop continues to pile up in the eastern part of the state, there are renewed concerns about what a possible rail strike could mean for the grain industry and fertilizer needs this fall.
...Grain handlers and input suppliers across the country are concerned about what the potential crisis on the nation’s railways could mean for business and for farmers.
“If you're not getting movement on the river system, or those freights get high enough, which they are, you see a switch to rail, which puts more pressure on the rail infrastructure,” he adds.
The proof is showing up in freight costs. As demand has surged for rail cars, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) says the cost of rail freight has skyrocketed.
“We're hearing secondary rail freight rates on a railcar are running around $1,500 to $2,000 a car right now. I think that number was around $150 a car at this time last year,” says Mike Seyfert, president and CEO of NGFA.
The cost to ship via rail has jumped 13 times from where it was last year, and the reliability of that vital shipping vein continues to be in limbo due to a looming strike...MORE