Alberta Barley Commission

Alberta Barley Commission

February 05, 2014 12:27 ET

Rail Strike Would Be 'Catastrophic' for Barley Farmers

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb. 5, 2014) - Alberta Barley is encouraging CN Rail and its employees to resolve their labour dispute immediately to avoid any further disruption in transportation services.

"A strike now would be catastrophic to farmers across the Prairies," said Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer. "The railways are already months behind in transporting last year's record harvest. Any labour disruption would compound the problem."

In addition to the significant economic impact, a lengthy contract dispute between CN Rail and its employees would result in farmers being left without any alternative to transport their crop.

"Canadian farmers need to know the railways are doing everything in their power to ensure our industry's commitments to our current buyers are being met. This is the only way we'll be able to maintain domestic and international markets for Alberta barley," added Sawyer.

The railways are a key component in the agricultural industry's supply chain. An unstable rail system not only affects farmers, it is an issue of national importance for our country, which is the fifth-largest agri-food exporter in the world.

"If we can't deliver our goods on time, as promised, our customers will go elsewhere," said Sawyer. "Canada will become known as an unreliable source, and that would have huge consequences for our farmers and our economy."

Approximately nine out of every 10 farms in this country are dependent on exports.

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