Farmers seek help with rail delays

Published 10:04 am Monday, September 15, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota farmers are looking to Congress and federal regulators for help getting their goods to market.

Increased shipping of oil from North Dakota is stressing the capacity of the Upper Midwest rail system. Robert Johnson, a board member for a grain elevator co-op in Fosston, says operators there used to pay $700 to reserve a rail car to deliver their grain.

Johnson said that it’s now $4,000 per car — without any guarantee of when the cars will arrive or leave.

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John Miller, a vice president for BNSF Railway, says his railroad is moving record amounts of agricultural products and will do better on this year’s harvest than last. He said recent record harvests, not oil shipments, have driven up the cost of grain cars.