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Grain Growers Ask Ottawa to Address Rail Transportation Issues

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC), a farm lobby group that represents the country’s 50,000 grain farmers, is asking the federal government to come up with a plan to address the persistent rail transportation issues plaguing prairie farmers.

In a Jan. 17 letter sent to the minister of agriculture Gerry Ritz and transport minister Lisa Raitt, the group expressed concern over the inadequate number of rail cars used to transport farmers’ crops to port.

“We ask the federal government to seriously assess the evolving rail capacity issues for Canadian farmers and provide recommendations for alleviating the concerns we have brought forward,” the GGC said in the letter.

Rail inefficiencies are causing economic hardship for farmers who cannot get their grain moved fast enough after last year’s record harvest. The farm lobby estimates the lost profits to be about $20 million.

GCC predicts that farmers will continue to yield bumper crops in the future, noting improved varieties have created a new norm.  “Last year’s harvest is the new normal,” GCC explains.

In the letter, GCC request to participate in the consultation process for the upcoming 2015 rail service review, and says farmers are anxious to see the rail service issues resolved before the upcoming crop year.

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