(NCGA/December 1, 2022) — The Senate voted 80-15 to pass a bill that would head off a potential rail strike that could have disrupted the movement of grain and input shipments. The vote comes a day after the House approved similar legislation.
The National Corn Growers Association applauded the development.
“We are extremely relieved that Congress took action to head off a strike that would have had serious consequences for America’s farmers, who are grappling with an increase in input costs and barge rates due to severe drought conditions on the Mississippi River,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “Today’s actions are an excellent example of Congress working together to get things done on behalf of the American people.”
A deal to avert a strike appeared imminent in recent months, but a disagreement over paid sick days put the country back on the pathway to a strike, which could have begun as early as Dec. 9. Left with no other options, Pres. Biden urged Congress to act.
The bill will now head to the president for signature.
Statement from Secretary Vilsack on Congressional Action to Avert Rail Shutdown
(USDA/WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2022) — “I thank Congress for taking swift action to prevent a potentially crippling national rail shutdown by sending to the President’s desk legislation that adopts the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators. A rail shutdown would have had significant and long-lasting effects on American food and agriculture and would have been devastating to the nation’s economy. Under President Biden’s leadership, U.S. farmers and ranchers, as well as American consumers, can breathe a sigh of relief that the trains will stay on track to deliver food, inputs, raw materials, and other essential items across the nation.
“Our work doesn’t stop here. This Administration will continue to make progress on fostering economic growth and strengthening supply chains, and supporting workers who deserve protections in the workplace.”
RFA Thanks President, Congress for Ending Rail Strike Threat
(RFA/December 2, 2022) —
After quick congressional passage earlier this week, President Biden signed legislation imposing an agreement to avert a major national rail strike that would have crippled America’s supply chain. Had a strike occurred, it would have seriously impacted the U.S. ethanol industry, the Renewable Fuels Association noted in thanking Congress and the President for their work.
“We thank President Biden and members of Congress who overwhelmingly supported keeping our nation’s freight moving at this difficult time,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “Shutting down the rails would have shut down our industry’s ability to provide lower-cost, low-carbon ethanol and other important coproducts like distillers grains to customers here at home and across the border to Canada and Mexico. More than 400,000 jobs across America are supported by the ethanol industry, and a long rail dispute would no doubt have put many of them at risk.”
RFA has been at the forefront of efforts to derail the strike threat, and earlier this week took part in a letter calling on Congress to move quickly to hold the railroads and their unions to the agreement. This followed letters in September and early November, as well as testimony in April to the Surface Transportation Board.
The majority of the ethanol produced in the United States—more than 70 percent—is transported via railway across the lower 48 states as well as into Canada and Mexico. In fact, over the last five years, U.S. railroads have transported an average of nearly 395,000 carloads of ethanol per year. In addition, roughly 25 percent of grain comes into ethanol plants by train, and an estimated 30 percent of outbound distillers grains, an important livestock feed produced at biorefineries, departs via rail.
AFBF Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Keep Economy Moving
(AFBF/WASHINGTON, December 2, 2022) — American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on President Biden’s signing of legislation to avert a disastrous rail strike.
“AFBF applauds Congress and President Biden for working together to avert a rail strike. High diesel prices, a truck driver shortage, and low water levels on the Mississippi River have already made shipping conditions difficult. A rail strike would have had a devastating effect on the American economy, especially as families grapple with higher prices caused by inflation.
“Farmers rely on trains to transport food and feed, and they also depend on the rails to bring important supplies like fertilizer back to the farm, which is why AFBF urged Congress and the president to find a solution to the rail worker impasse. Their bipartisan efforts will help ensure farmers can continue delivering food from their farms to families across the country.”