KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

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March 3, 2014

Farm leaders meet with transport minister to resolve dire situation in grain movement

As the crisis in Prairie grain movement continues, Western farm leaders met last week with federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt in Ottawa to seek solutions to the grain backlog that is affecting not only grain producers, but also those who buy grains domestically.

“A record harvest is tied up in grain bins and temporary storage across the Prairies, while producers have very real concerns that they won’t have the cash flow to fund this year’s seeding,” said Doug Chorney of Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers.

“We are losing markets, and the glut of grain sitting in elevators means prices are falling," said Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. “This is impacting farmers, the economies of Western Canada, and the Canadian economy as a whole.”

The leaders from B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as from the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, were in Ottawa for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture annual meeting, where grain movement came up repeatedly during the two days of the meeting.

“Our meeting with Minister Raitt was very timely,” said AFA president Lynn Jacobson. “We realize that she is gravely concerned, and she agrees there must be short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions.”
The leaders put forward the following solutions:

  • Enshrine in legislation mandatory service-level agreements for the railways, with penalties paid to shippers for non-compliance.
  • Re-visit the recommendations from the federal Rail Freight Service Review Panel.
  • Correct the current transportation imbalance by maintaining, expanding and enforcing regulations pertaining to railways.
  • Work with Pulse Canada which is identifying and quantifying rail performance.

In addition to meeting with Raitt, leaders also met with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and other MPs.

Besides addressing transportation issues at the annual meeting, delegates passed over 30 resolutions. A complete list can be found on the CFA website at http://www.cfa-fca.ca/ .

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For further information:

Doug Chorney – 204-785-3626
Val Ominski, communications – 204-697-1140 (ext. 3)