Update: Cavalier County FB town hall meeting
Created: 4/20/14 (Sun) | Topic: Issues
Congressman Kevin Cramer was in Langdon this past Wednesday to meet with the Cavalier County Farm Bureau to address all the concerns about the freight train delays. Due to the booming oil industry the amount of trains on the track has increased by 200 percent in the last few years. With no signs of slowing down, our railroad system needs to step it up in order to properly manage all products going in and out. As of right now, the rail system is two months behind on picking up wheat, and five months behind on picking up specialty crops, such as beans. The rail service has made an effort to deliver fertilizer to the distributors for this spring, however, farmers using Anhydrous Ammonia will see difficulties in getting it for this upcoming spring. If this problem isn't resolved farmers will see several problems arise, including their perishable crops being stored on the ground and prices dropping. Farmers and others affected by this problem are hoping for the rail service's cooperation in this matter, and their service's expanding.
As of Wednesday, the U.S Surface Transportation Board did issue a decision regarding the fertilizer shipments for this spring. The decision orders the railroad services to report back to the Surface Transportation Board, by April 18, their plans to ensure a timely delivery and to provide weekly reports.
Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement regarding the decision made by the Surface Transportation Board: "I am encouraged by this decision from STB (Surface Transportation Board) which recognizes the urgency of spring planting. While this may help farmers get the fertilizer they need, there are still unacceptable delays for shipping grain and other products to market. This is one of the most significant infrastructure challenges we face in the growing North Dakota economy, and I continue to be personally engaged in the situation."
Senator John Hoeven also spoke on the matter: "Surface Transportation Board's decision to require railroads to have a plan for delivery of fertilizer to farmers is an acknowledgment that the window for planting is narrow and timely delivery is vital to a good harvest. CP and BNSF need to develop a plan that devotes enough resources as are necessary to meet their obligations to all their clients. That means ensuring that farmers get their crops planted and fertilized, grain shippers get their harvest to market and other industries are also served in a timely fashion."
Cavalier County Farm Bureau President Leon Pederson was in attendance on Wednesday and expresses his gratitude for those making efforts to shine a spotlight on this issue and see it resolved. "We're extremely thankful Rep. Cramer has agreed to attend our event," stated Pederson. "The livelihood of farmers is being threatened by the inability of the railroad to deliver and receive essential agriculture commodities. We're losing money every day that we cannot afford to lose. Agriculture is important to North Dakota and we have to make sure that all North Dakota's valuable commodities get equal rail time."
North Dakota Farm Bureau encourages everyone who has a voice regarding the railroad services to take part in seeing this through. For further information on the topic or any concerns, contact Leon Pederson at 701-370-0142.