Editors note: NGFA relies heavily on its 18 active committees and councils to address significant issues related to public policy and industry business. As such, NGFA has launched a series of profiles looking at the committees, their priorities and leadership to keep members up-to-date on current issues. A new committee will be featured each month in the “Committee Corner” based on association priorities.
Committee Name: Rail Shipper/Receiver
Committee Chairman: Dan Mack, vice president of transportation and terminal operations at CHS Inc., St. Paul, Minn.
- Randy Gordon, president
- Jared Hill, director of legislative affairs
- Charlie Delacruz, vice president and general counsel
Committee Members: Below is a list of active committee members as of Jan. 23:
- Shane Berrett, Gavilon LLC, Kansas City, Mo.
- Wyatt Brummer, The Scoular Company, Overland Park, Kan.
- Robert Carlson, Landmark Services Cooperative, Cottage Grove, Wis.
- Jerry Cope, Dakota Mill and Grain Inc., Rapid City, S.D.
- Dan DeRouchey, Berthold Farmers Elevator LLC, Berthold, N.D.
- Roger Fray, West Central Cooperative, Ralston, Iowa
- Scott Fredericksen, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Decatur, Ill.
- Mark Huston, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Kansas City, Mo.
- Scott Malony, Penny-Newman Grain Co. Inc., Fresno, Calif.
- Jim McKinstray, The Andersons Inc., Maumee, Ohio
- Scot Ortman, Kokomo Grain Co. Inc., Kokomo, Ind.
- Ryan Pellett, J.D. Heiskelle & Co., Elkhorn, Neb.
- William Shortal, Central States Enterprises Inc., Heathrow, Fla.
- Kevin Thompson, Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
- Charles Threlkeld, CGB Enterprises Inc., Mandeville, La.
- Greg Twist, Ag Processing Inc., Omaha, Neb.
- Phil Waddell, Foster Commodities, Fresno, Calif.
- Ryan Warner, Bunge North America Inc., St. Louis, Mo.
- Randall Wuttke, Farm City Elevator Inc., Darlen, Wis.
- Kevin E. Zimski, Land O’Lakes Inc., Shoreview, Minn.
Committee Purpose: The NGFA is regarded widely as the lead agribusiness trade association on rail transportation and service issues. The committee is comprised of shippers, receivers, marketers and users of grain and grain products by rail. All types and sizes of companies are represented, including country and terminal elevator managers, grain processors, feed manufacturers, integrated livestock and poultry feeding operations, grain rail transportation experts, and other senior-level managers. The committee focuses principally on congressional rail legislation, rail rulemakings and proceedings initiated by the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB), and service-related issues confronting the grain, feed, grain processing and export sectors,
Major Current Committee Activities: The committee currently is focusing on the following major issues:
- BNSF Service-Related Problems: The committee is interacting with the BNSF Railway to address deteriorating service that has plagued grain shippers and receivers over the last six months or longer, as well as the lack of predictability and transparency on when current service-related disruptions will be resolved. The NGFA will be requesting that the BNSF establish estimated cycle time/velocity-based performance standards that realistically can be expected by grain and grain product shippers and receivers for the remainder of 2014, including at harvest. Service-related issues with other carriers also will be addressed.
- Competitive Switching: The NGFA is engaged actively in a current STB proceeding that may result in new proposed rules to enhance competitive switching in terminal areas that lack effective competitive transportation alternatives.
- Grain Rail Rate Proceeding: The NGFA will be submitting extensive comments this spring on a new proceeding launched by the STB in response to comments submitted previously by the NGFA concerning the lack of a reasonable method for grain shippers to challenge unreasonable freight rail rates. The STB has indicated it is open to considering an entirely different method for grain shippers to challenge unreasonable freight rates, and the NGFA plans to propose an alternative that is consistent with its overarching philosophy of fostering a competitive transportation environment consistent with free market principles.
- Addressing Unreasonable Business Practices by Carriers: The committee is focusing on the increasingly troubling practice of carriers assessing accessorial and other charges, as well as shifting of liability for loss-and-damage claims.
- FDA Implementation of Safe Food Transportation Provisions of Food Safety Modernization Act: The committee will be providing input along with other NGFA committees concerning the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal, scheduled to be issued in late January, implementing the safe food transportation provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The committee’s goal will be to ensure sufficient flexibility in FDA’s rules to prevent certain classes of rail and other freight from being ruled “off limits” for use in transporting grain and grain products.
- Rail Legislation: The NGFA continues to evaluate opportunities to amend the Staggers Rail Act at some point in the future to require the STB to better balance the need for rail competition and competitive service with its existing statutory requirement to ensure revenue adequacy of rail carriers.