Twelve members of the Ag Transportation Working Group wrote USDA officials last week expressing the importance of an efficient transportation system to American agriculture and requesting the Department submit comments in an ongoing small rate case before the Surface Transportation Board.
"The competitiveness of U.S. agriculture is increasingly dependent upon a myriad of troublesome transportation issues," the groups wrote.
"To maintain our ability to remain competitive in a very dynamic domestic and world market, and to be in a position to capture new market opportunities, the United States must address these serious transportation challenges.
"We are writing because we believe the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs to play a lead role on behalf of U.S. agriculture in shaping the outcomes of key transportation issues directly affecting American agriculture."
The letter outlined some of the transportation issues faced by agricultural producers, including capacity constraints, increasing rail rates and poor service, rail fuel surcharges and waterways appropriations.
The letter specifically asked that the Department comment on STB Ex Parte 646, a small rate case pending before the Surface Transportation Board.
The organizations signing the letter with NAWG included the: Agricultural Retailers Association; American Farm Bureau Federation; American Soybean Association; Corn Refiners Association; National Corn Growers Association; National Cotton Council; National Grain and Feed Association; National Oilseed Processors Association; North American Millers' Association; The Fertilizer Institute; and USA Rice Federation.