WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: President Biden has signed legislation to avert a national rail strike. Agricultural organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, The Fertilizer Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the American Feed Industry Association have released statements following this announcement.
American Farm Bureau Federation
AFBF Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Keep Economy Moving
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented 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.”
The Fertilizer Institute
TFI Applauds Swift Congressional Action to Avert a Rail Shutdown
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today applauded Congress for taking action to avert an economically devastating rail strike.
“TFI thanks Congress for its swift work this week to implement the September Tentative Agreements (TAs) reached by rail carriers and union leadership to avert a rail strike that would have severely disrupted delivery of fertilizer to farmers as well as hurting domestic production,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “TFI is also appreciative of the Biden Administration’s leadership as this challenging situation took bipartisan efforts on all sides and every level of our government to make it happen. It is encouraging to see members of both parties working together, and this is good news for our nation as we approach the 118th Congress.”
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted on two resolutions; one to implement Tentative Agreements (TAs) that were agreed to in September by the rail carriers and labor union leadership, the second to add seven additional paid sick days to rank and file rail workers. Both resolutions passed the House. The Senate today voted on both resolutions, as well as a third that would have extended the negotiations. Of the three resolutions, the Senate passed only the resolution to implement the September TAs, which should now head to the President for his signature
“There was an industry-wide sigh of relief today after both Congressional chambers voted in favor of implementing the September TAs,” Rosenbusch continued. “Rail is critical to the movement of fertilizer year-round. Averting embargoes and production delays were crucial to not only ensuring we’re able to provide the fertilizers our nation’s farmers need, but also avoiding additional disruptions to a global market already constrained by geopolitical events and volatile energy prices.”
Today’s Congressional action to ensure the domestic rail network remains operational ends months of uncertainty for the fertilizer industry and other industries heavily dependent on rail. “Our members can now get back to doing what they do best,” Rosenbusch concluded. “And that’s producing and shipping fertilizers to the farmers across the country that grow the food, fuel and fiber that we all need. Today is a victory for food security, both in the U.S. and around the world.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
NCBA Statement on the Signing of Resolution to Avoid Rail Disruptions
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Colin Woodall released a statement following the signing of H.J. Res. 100 to avert disruptions in rail service:
“America’s cattle producers are grateful for the bipartisan effort that prevented disruptions in critical rail service across the country. A rail shutdown would have been disastrous to our supply chain, and would have interrupted the essential feed, fuel, and fertilizer shipments cattle producers need. We are pleased that this joint resolution was swiftly passed by Congress and signed into law.”
American Feed Industry Association
AFIA Thanks Congress, Administration for Expedient Action on Rail Agreement
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) applauds Congress and the Biden administration for swiftly stepping in to pass legislation that avoids a potentially crippling national rail shutdown, which would have threatened the health and welfare of America’s livestock, poultry and pets and exacerbated an already tough operating environment for U.S. animal food manufacturers.
AFIA President and CEO Constance Cullman made the following statement upon the passage of H.J. Res. 100:
“No one empathizes with the struggles of maintaining a committed workforce like the U.S. animal food industry but slowing or stopping the transport of goods via rail threatens the livelihoods of those hardworking Americans well beyond our nation’s tracks. We thank Congress and the Biden administration for their leadership in brokering a deal that keeps all trains running on time for the greater good of America and the food and agricultural community.”
America’s railways move about one-quarter of all U.S. grain, and most grain products, such as soybean oil and meal, dried distillers’ grains and other byproducts used in the production of animal feed and pet food. The U.S. animal food industry is responsible for delivering an estimated 284 million tons of safe, high quality and nutritious animal food to the marketplace for domestic livestock and pets to consume. Without efficient and stable modes to transport animal food and ingredients, crop inputs or any machinery or supplies necessary in the manufacture of animal food via the nation’s railways, waterways and highways, farmers and consumers are at risk of being unable to reliably feed their livestock, poultry and pets.