US agriculture organizations call for more competitive rail environment

US agriculture organizations call for more competitive rail environment

Release statement focusing on rates, business practices, contractual barriers, arbitration

The National Grain and Feed Association and 11 other U.S. agricultural trade organizations have released a statement urging the federal Surface Transportation Board to improve its regulatory structure to foster a more competitive rail environment.

The STB is currently conducting a proceeding to explore the current state of rail competition and potential policy initiatives to promote additional rail-to-rail competition.

Enhancing both regulatory access to the agency and problem-solving in rail markets between carriers and their customers could spur growth in both U.S. agriculture and the rail sector, which in turn would support an “improved overall U.S. economy and provide for more vibrant job growth in many sectors served by rail,” said the organizations. In their joint statement, the organizations focused on issues such as rates and switching charges, business practices imposed by carriers, contractual barriers to competition and improvements to the agency’s arbitration procedures to foster improved dispute resolution between railroads and shippers. 

Other national agricultural producer and agribusiness associations joining the NGFA in the statement included the Agricultural Retailers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Oilseed Processors Association, Renewable Fuels Association, The Fertilizer Institute and USA Rice Federation.

The NGFA plans to testify at a June 22 public hearing scheduled by the STB as part of its rail competition proceeding.