OMAHA, Nebraska – The full moon of harvest is obscured by a dark cloud.
“It’s going to be a mess if they don’t get this straightened out around here in the very short term because, as you know, the combines are sitting in the shop pointed out the door,” said the person. “It’s going to be a mess.”
Greg Greving, a farmer from Chapman, has been to the opposite side of the world countless times in an effort to increase Nebraska’s portion of the global soybean market. The agricultural supply chain in Nebraska and much of the rest of the United States is currently at risk as a result of the possibility of a strike among railroad workers.
It’s like another blow to the stomach for farmers all throughout the country.
Farm Futures-Farm Progress has Jacqueline Holland working as a grain market analyst for the company. This week, she is participating in the Husker Harvest Days event that is being held in Grand Island among thousands of other industry professionals and aficionados. There has been a significant amount of discourse among farmers over the potential consequences of a rail strike.
According to Holland, “the agricultural sector is facing a significant amount of repercussions from the pandemic.” “It actually kind of hampered global fertilizer supplies, and the war in Ukraine also greatly confined those supplies, as well as world grain supplies, so it’s just kind of another punch to the stomach for farmers.”
Grand Island’s Husker Harvest Days are celebrating their 40th year as a community event.
The production of soybeans provides a harrowing illustration of the difficulties associated with supply chain management. The production of ships for the hungry markets in Asia and other parts of the world depends on the soybeans grown in the Gulf of Mexico and on the west coast.
According to Greving, “It’s going to be devastating because just about all of the soybeans that are produced here go to a crush plant, and that crush plant is in Hastings, and they send two unit trains of soybean meal per week to the Pacific Northwest.” “It’s going to be devastating because just about all of the soybeans that are produced here go to a crush plant in Hastings, and that crush plant is in Hastings,” He is a member of the United Soybean Board for the USDA. This is done aboard bulk carriers located there, and it is then transported to Southeast Asian countries.
Everyone, even farmers, is impacted when there is an increase in the price of oil. The majority of ethanol plants would not receive their maize supply if train service was disrupted.
According to Scott Swenseth, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for supply chain management and analytics, “We also carry oil via train.” Because we haven’t been building pipelines, transporting oil can also take place through rail or truck; but, if this scenario plays out, the flow of oil will be slowed down significantly.
According to Greving, “almost all of our yellow corn is sent to an ethanol factory, where it is converted into ethanol before being loaded into train cars and sent away from here.” The farmers are going to be negatively impacted if this results in the closure of the ethanol plants because they are not going to take it.
He highlights the interconnected list of concerns, one of which is the DDG that is extracted from ethanol facilities and used to manufacture animal feed.
To add insult to injury, the United States extensively relies on railways and other modes of transportation since certain goods just cannot be transported by vehicle alone.
Swenseth explained, “We’re also coming up on the holiday season, and there’s going to be a lot of items moved by rail.” During this time of year, a lot of things are transported by rail. “A lot of those products that we see carried by truck initially traveled by rail for a portion of the journey, and then they were shifted to truck for the final mile, so we need to take that into mind as well.”
There is already tension in the connection between farmers and railroads.
Rail service slowdowns are being blamed by the grain business for an anticipated loss of one hundred million dollars during the first quarter of this year. And at this point, with the deadline being this next Friday, all they can do is cross their fingers and hope that there won’t be a railroad strike and that the agricultural system will continue to function normally.