Federal, Sask. ag ministers meet to discuss grain backlog

By CJME News Staff
March 21, 2018 - 5:14pm

The provincial and federal agriculture ministers met Wednesday to address grain backlogs that have plagued farmers this winter.

Federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAuley met with Saskatchewan’s Lyle Stewart at the Saskatchewan Legislature, with grain backlogs dominating the conversation.

A letter penned from MacAuley and the federal transport minister to railways laid out how serious the problem was.

“They have responded, there’s been a number of actions taken but there’s still a serious situation and a backlog and this is something that can not continue to happen,” MacAuley said.

Currently, Bill C-49, which is aimed at holding railways more accountable, is currently awaiting Senate approval.

MacAuley said the railways have made progress by having more hopper cars available but it continues to remain a problem.

Stewart said he is on the same page as MacAuley when it comes to the grain backlog issue.

“I think the railways have stepped up as far as grain car deliveries go, their numbers are to where they probably should’ve been all winter.”

Time may be running out for farmers to get their grain to market, with the planting season creeping closer and closer.

MacAuley admitted compensation may be required soon.

“If there’s any financial issues that we’re able to deal with them, like advanced payment and this type of thing, too make sure that they’re able to get their crop in.”

Stewart said it’s still too early to determine the financial impact the grain backlog is causing because it’s affecting farmers individually.

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