Transportation admin November 1, 2023


NGFA advocates marketplace freedoms for all modes of transportation with proper safeguards to protect grain shippers/receivers, agricultural producers and the public when adequate competition does not exist. The NGFA also offers rail arbitration and mediation services to resolve certain types of disputes between grain, feed and processing companies and railroads that are NGFA members. The NGFA also advocates improvements to the U.S. inland waterways system and ports to preserve and enhance its role in cost-competitive transport of grain, grain products and farm supplies.


Reliable rail service at competitive rates are extremely important to U.S. agriculture, and cannot be taken for granted given that four railroads typically originate more than 80 percent of agricultural freight traffic, compared to only 53 percent in 1980, and alternative freight transportation mode options are limited for many longer movements.

NGFA supports the STB’s proposal to allow shippers to seek competitive bids for rail service through reciprocal switching. Switching can help farmers by unlocking market forces, improving rail service and reducing shipping costs and distances. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone on record saying: “Competitive switching offers a market-based solution to balance the needs of the railroads and shippers and is in keeping with the goals of the Staggers Act.”

NGFA Rail Service Priorities

For decades the U.S. transportation infrastructure system has provided U.S. agricultural producers and agribusinesses with a strong comparative advantage, fostering the ability to efficiently and competitively serve domestic and global markets. However, that infrastructure – particularly the inland waterways system – now risks becoming a potential detriment rather than a comparative advantage.

NGFA Waterways Priorities

An efficient freight transportation system is vitally important to the grain, feed, processing and export industry because of the large volumes of commodities that are handled and the multiple modes and availability of sufficient capacity that is required to transport agricultural products between numerous origin-destination pairs.

Each year trucks move approximately 500 million tons of U.S.-produced grain from field to storage, which is the equivalent of 20 million truckloads. Further, after the initial movement to storage, grain often is transported at least one more time before arriving at its final destination – the end user.

NGFA TruckingPriorities
More Transportation Actions

Supply Chain Comments: NGFA submitted comments on Oct. 18 on behalf of 52 national-level food and agricultural associations to the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture outlining ways to improve the agricultural supply chain. Read more

Agricultural Transportation Work Group supports the bipartisan infrastructure bill: NGFA and members of the Agricultural Transportation Work Group urged lawmakers to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would increase infrastructure spending by $550 billion over five years. “A comprehensive transportation infrastructure bill, while popular, has long been elusive,” stated the groups in an Aug. 6 letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We urge enactment of this compromise between President Biden and a group of Senate Democrats and Republicans.” Read more

Watch: July 9, 2020, webinar “Impacts of the Transportation System on Agricultural Products.”
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) conducted a study for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service with the goal of identifying transportation costs associated with these goods. During the webinar, TTI researchers break down the study, which was developed to aid consumers in better understanding the importance of the transportation system and its effects on soybean and corn product prices. 

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