What Happens When Farmers Run Out of Feed for Their Animals?

LFC Comments: Thanks to a Kirtland Lobbyist for sending us this article.



Livestock Producers Report Being Just Days Away From Running Out of Feed Due to Shipping Rail Issues

Supply Chain Crunch Wrinkle 063022

By TYNE MORGAN June 30, 2022

Rail bottlenecks in the U.S. are not improving, and in some cases, growing more severe. Feed users in California and the Southwest are having issues sourcing grain, with some reporting they are paying $3 over the CBOT price to secure grain by truck. Not only are feed users on the brink of running out of grain, but there are also concerns the rail issues could grow worse during harvest this fall.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) says their members have been seeing issues since late winter and early spring, which then caused the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to hold a hearing in August. While the industry thought the issues would improve by summer, labor issues are not getting better. 

“What I’m hearing from our members is fewer equipment issues and that the equipment and engines seem to be not breaking down, but the train times –  the amount of time it’s taking to get the trains – and the reliability of receiving them is still quite a problem in in quite a few areas of the country,” says Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of NGFA.

Fears of Running Out of Feed

According to Trains.com, Foster Farms, the largest chicken producer in the western U.S., asked federal regulators to issue an emergency service order last week that would direct Union Pacific to prioritize corn shipments that thousands of dairy cattle and millions of chickens and turkeys depend upon.

​​”The point has been reached when millions of chickens will be killed and other livestock will suffer because of UP’s service failures,” Foster Farms wrote in its request to the Surface Transportation Board this week.

Seyfert says the emergency order shows the seriousness of the issue.

“At times in in the past several months, we have heard from more than one member that has had severe difficulty getting feed, sometimes being within several hours of being short,” says Seyfert.

While a combination of weather, supply chain issues and other factors are creating the severe scenario, the main issue seems to revolve around labor. According to NGFA, railroads were already down about 25% in staffing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, problems during the pandemic only exacerbated the labor issue.

[To read the entire article, please go to the link at the beginning of the article.]



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