NGFA, Ag Groups, Urge Congress to Pass Rail Agreement

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and more than 200 other members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group today urged Congress to pass legislation to avert a national rail shutdown.

President Joe Biden issued a statement on Nov. 28 calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the tentative agreement reached between railroad unions and management in September. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would consider legislation today.

In a Nov. 30 letter to congressional leaders, the agricultural groups noted that a rail strike or lockout combined with existing challenges in the U.S. transportation system would have harmful consequences for the agricultural and broader U.S. economies.

“We urge Congress to deliver a bipartisan bill to the president’s desk well in advance of Dec. 9 at 12:01 am when a strike or lockout could occur,” the agricultural groups noted.

“As experienced in September, rail services are anticipated to begin winding down approximately one week in advance of Dec. 9. We thank you for your responsiveness to this imminent supply chain issue.”

Negotiating parties reached a tentative agreement in time to avert a rail strike or lockout in September, but since then, some railroad unions have voted against ratification. NGFA and other stakeholders have urged Congress to intervene before the “cooling-off” period ends on Dec. 9.

Rail moves about 25 percent of all U.S. grain, which is about 1.5 million carloads. Rail also moves about 1.2 million carloads of grain products, such as flour, soybean oil and meal, dried distillers grains and ethanol.