“I hear that train a-comin’. It’s rollin’ ‘round the bend…”
And for now, it looks like this train will stay on the tracks.
Crisis averted: After a marathon negotiation session between the major U.S. railroads and unions, President Biden announced yesterday they had come to a tentative labor agreement and that a looming strike expected to begin today would be avoided.
And that’s good news for everyone. Especially for agriculture.
With rail a major transporter of ag inputs and outputs, the industry was (understandably) concerned about a potential nightmare scenario.
Livestock: The American Association of Railroads reports that 1.5M carloads of grain are transported by rail annually—a lot of that destined to fill animals’ hungry bellies.
So it’s a good thing shipments are still rolling… for livestock AND our wallets. Because like Tom Super with the National Chicken Council said, “Any disruption of service could… impact production at a time when Americans are already dealing with record food inflation.”
Uh… no thank you.
A strike would have been bad news bears for grain farmers as well. With the fall harvest underway, a sudden delay in shipments and a subsequent backup at grain elevators would have created the “perfect storm” of nowhere to take the grain.
Oh… and don’t forget the delayed fertilizer shipments that farmers need… like now.
Where this goes: A pay increase and better working conditions seem to be on the menu for union workers to consider as they vote for or against the tentative agreement in the coming weeks.
But for now, it looks like the immediate risk of “devastating consequences to our national and global food security” has been derailed.