Worried farmers to meet federal transport minister over moving big crop by rail

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart to make a pitch for improved transportation rules

More than a dozen groups representing farmers are to meet with federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau in Saskatoon to talk about moving grain by rail.

The second largest crop on record is expected this year and farmers are worried about a repeat of a rail bottleneck that occurred in 2013-2014.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says he will make a pitch for improved transportation rules, including better reporting of weekly progress in moving rail cars and penalties for shippers and rail companies that don't meet delivery agreements.

Stewart also wants interswitching, the transfer of traffic between two railway companies, kept at a distance of 160 kilometres.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has called on Garneau to ensure railways don't abuse their role and to maintain limits on how much profit they can make from grain transportation.

Canadian Pacific Railway has said it's ready to move the crop, but the grain isn't ready because wet weather is contributing to a late harvest.

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