Iowa lawmakers request action from the Surface Transportation Board regarding rail shipment delays impacting agricultural goods, including fertilizer, dairy farm feed, grain, ethanol; one farmer reported a turnaround time of over double the typical amount

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

WASHINGTON D.C. , April 26, 2022 (press release) –

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04) sent a letter to Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Martin Oberman requesting that the Board take swift action to address the significant delays in rail shipments impacting agricultural goods.

In the letter, Reps. Axne and Feenstra outlined the concerns expressed by Iowa's farmers and business leaders and discussed the dire consequences that Iowa's agricultural industry will face if the rail system delays are not addressed. Last week a leading nitrogen fertilizer producer informed customers of delivery delays during the planting season due to volume restrictions on rail lines.

"We have heard reports that rail movement has dramatically backed up over the recent months, causing serious concerns about the ability to move grain and essential agricultural producers to end users. One farmer-owned cooperative in Iowa is experiencing turnaround times more than double their typical average, adding weeks to their timelines and greatly diminishing the amount of bushels they can move. Even more dire, these delays are affecting shipments of feed to dairy farmers across the country, stretching supply and increasing uncertainty for farmers," wrote the members.

"The longer these issues persist, the greater the effect it will have on the entire agriculture supply chain. Producers in Iowa are already concerned about grain bin space for this year's harvest as delays continue to add up and they are unable to move last year's crop. Additionally, Iowa's ethanol and soybean crush plant risk their ability to ship their product out in a timely manner if service continues to deteriorate," the members continued.

Rep. Axne has been focused on fixing the nation's broken supply chain and supporting Iowa's agricultural community in Congress. In November 2021, Rep. Axne unveiled her Supply Chain Solutions Agenda aimed to reduce bottlenecks, promote U.S. manufacturing, and alleviate economic disruptions impacting Iowans.

Last month, she led a bipartisan letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting it address the strain on the fertilizer supply by eliminating duties on phosphate fertilizer products imported from Morocco and suspending the process to impose new duties on urea ammonium fertilizer from Trinidad and Tobago to combat the sharp increases in fertilizer prices.

The full text of today's letter can be found here https://axne.house.gov/sites/axne.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/4.22.22%20Letter%20to%20STB%20on%20Rail%20Delays_FINAL.pdf and below:

"Dear Chairman Oberman,

We have significant concerns with delays in rail shipments affecting agriculture goods from getting to market, particularly feed that livestock producers depend on receiving timely shipments. We appreciate the Surface Transportation Board's recent announcement to hold public hearings on the matter and urge swift action to remedy the situation and ensure our nation's supply chain remains reliable for Iowa farmers and businesses.

We have heard reports that rail movement has dramatically backed up over the recent months, causing serious concerns about the ability to move grain and essential agricultural producers to end users. One farmer-owned cooperative in Iowa is experiencing turnaround times more than double their typical average, adding weeks to their timelines and greatly diminishing the amount of bushels they can move. Even more dire, these delays are affecting shipments of feed to dairy farmers across the country, stretching supply and increasing uncertainty for farmers.

The longer these issues persist, the greater the effect it will have on the entire agriculture supply chain. Producers in Iowa are already concerned about grain bin space for this year's harvest as delays continue to add up and they are unable to move last year's crop. Additionally, Iowa's ethanol and soybean crush plant risk their ability to ship their product out in a timely manner if service continues to deteriorate.

While the global pandemic has put unprecedented strain on our nation's supply chain, these are not new concerns. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture has stated they have consistently heard of similar issues of poor rail service over the past few years.

We urge you to take swift action following the hearings later this month to improve the reliability of our nation's rail system and ensure Iowa farmers and businesses have a reliable means of transporting goods. We appreciate your prompt attention to this important matter."

Read this original document at: https://axne.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-axne-leads-call-address-rail-delays-fix-supply-chain-iowa-s-farmers-and

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