Farmers Calling for Solutions Before Possible Rail Strike

SASKATOON, Oct. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - With the Canadian National Railway (CN) and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) seemingly locked in a dispute, the industries that rely on the railway to ship products will once again be stuck with significantly fewer options if they go to a strike after the cooling off period.

"One thing we just didn't need right now is for grain elevators that are already full, to not be able to ship product out", says Bob Friesen, CEO of FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG).  "Farmers are ultimately the ones who suffer - they will have no choice but to hold their unsold inventory longer because elevators are full and unable to take delivery".

The recent unexpectedly large harvest in much of western Canada is good news for farmers, but it is a huge concern when that volume cannot be marketed in a timely manner, or at steady prices because of a dysfunctional transportation system.  Already many elevators on the prairies, as well as farms, have resorted to piling grain on the ground, which causes quality loss the longer it sits.  Now that grain may have to sit for longer.  The inability for farmers to transport their goods to market causes backlogs and further difficulty in an already stretched rail transportation system.

And while farmers need access to markets to pay their bills, the buyers around the world start looking at other markets if delivery commitments default.  Even a looming strike can cause buyers to look elsewhere.  Canada's reputation is at stake if it can't deliver its market commitments.

FNA-STAG is calling on CN and the TCRC to avoid a strike situation and ensure that rail traffic moves smoothly and efficiently.  "Farmers resent the fact that their potential income is being held ransom, and are counting on both sides in this dispute to work it out", says Friesen.

If this situation is not resolved before a strike, FNA-STAG calls on the Federal Government to implement back to work legislation.

Farmers of North America Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG) is a not-for-profit organization with the single mission of "Improving Farm Profitability."

SOURCE: FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute

For further information:

Bob Friesen, CEO: (613) 230-2222 / (613) 852-9711

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FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute

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