November 17, 2006
Rail transportation rates can vary significantly among commodities, presenting a major challenge to grain shippers while raising questions about equity in rail shipments. That is why Farm Bureau is urging the Surface Transportation Board to make grain shipments fairer and more affordable.
Farm Bureau is basing its recommendations on a report issued by the Government Accountability Office regarding rates, competition and capacity issues in the American rail freight industry. According to Farm Bureau, one of the most alarming components of the report putting U.S. farmers at a distinct disadvantage was the fact rail rates have not declined uniformly. Specifically, from 1985 through 2004, coal rates declined 35 percent while grain rates increased 9 percent.
"The report, along with multiple interviews with experts in this field is alarming," said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "The report confirms the many concerns that U.S. agriculture has been raising for years. AFBF wants to see more done to make rail transportation fair to all commodities, including agriculture. It is imperative to afford smaller shippers the opportunity to challenge excessive freight rates."