Potential Rail Strike a Concern in the Northern Plains

If an agreement for an increase in wage and benefits is not reached by railroads and labor unions by late next week, there is a possibility of strikes and lockouts. If realized, this would affect grain movement out of the Northern Plains. A potential strike happening as harvest picks up the pace in the Dakotas and Minnesota is concerning for grain elevators. “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t concerned,” says Levi Hall, grain division manager, Horizon Resources. “The temporary pause in this negotiating window goes through mid-September. That’s when we’d be in the middle of small grain harvest. Last year, we bought a lot of old durum. There’s a lot of bin space on the farm this year and that’s where a lot of the early grain is going.” Once on-farm storage is filled, grain gets sold to the local elevator where storage is limited. “Right when we start getting hit (with that grain), we’re going to see the railroad start to struggle.”