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Rail Car Shortage Leading To Pileup At Grain Elevator

April 14, 2014, 6:10 PM by Leland Steva

Rail Car Shortage Leading To Pileup At Grain Elevator
KIMBALL, SD -

The railcar shortage is hitting hard across KELOLAND. As a result, a grain elevator near Kimball isn't able to ship out its corn and grain.

"It's an issue I never thought we'd see, but here it is," farmer Brad Veurink said.

The corn and milo piling up outside the Gavilon Liberty Grain near Kimball is creating a mountain that could soon rival the elevator itself.  Manager Todd Yeaton says he's dealt with railcar shortages before, but never like this.

"This widespread in multiple rail systems, I don't think it's been seen, not in the years that I've been in the industry and that's been since the late 80's," Yeaton said.

Weather issues and crew changes are being blamed for putting the delivery of railcars behind schedule. Gavilon even leased out private cars to try to keep up with the demand, but that hasn't stopped the mountain from building outside the door.

"If we get a two or three inch warm rain, any place that has grain uncovered on the ground, you stand the potential for a lot of spoilage," Yeaton said.

There's also an issue of things coming into the Ag business as well. There's a shortage of fertilizer coming in by rail, and that might lead to some producers changing up their plans before planting season.

"Switching over to soybeans might be the deal, because the last thing you're going to do is go out and put a $350 bag of corn out in the field without any fertilizer to supply it," Veurink said.

If more railcars don't soon come to elevators across the state, Yeaton says it won't just be farmers who are hurting.

"It's costing the producers money. It's costing elevators money. It's costing the end users money. Everyone, it's a trickle-down effect in the economy, and there's really nobody gaining by it at all," Yeaton said.

With no answers on the horizon, concerns here, like the grain, will only continue to pile up.

U.S. Senator John Thune recently called on railroad companies to get more freight cars into South Dakota, saying the issue needs to be fixed before spring planting.

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