Monday, March 21, 2022

CP Rial stoppage threatens farmers

The impasse between management and about 3,000 employees that has idled CP Rail is threatening farmers.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattle Feeders Association issued a joint release to say feedlots are depending on feed coming train by train.

It could results in an animal care emergency said Bob Lowe, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Drought reduced the Prairie harvest and feedlots with more than a million cattle in Alberta and Saskatchewan are depending on feed coming north from the United States.

There aren’t enough trucks to handle what should be coming by rail, the two organizations said.

In the U.S., farmers are worried that they won’t be able to get fertilizer from Canada in time for spring planting. Nutrien, the world’s largest potash producer, said it has delivered potash to U.S. retail stores, but only enough for four to five days of CP Rail stoppage.

Karen King, chief executive officer and president of Fertilizer Canada, said the U.S. has only enough fertilizer on hand for a few days.

Perrin Beatty, chief executive officer for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is urging the federal government to prepare back-to-work legislation to ensure the work stoppage is brief.

Coincidentally, Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Ontario Agri-Business Association held a news conference Friday to say it’s important that everything works smoothly this season so farmers can maximize production.

They were commenting in the context of global trade disruptions and food shortages related to the war in the Ukraine.