Upper Midwest Farmers Face Weather And Rail Woes

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An April rain shower makes a bold backdrop against the hay bales in this photo taken in Dickey County, North Dakota, April 6, 2014.
(Krista Lundgren/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Farmers in the Upper Midwest are having a particularly stressful spring. Planting has been delayed due to unusually cold and wet weather, as well as a fertilizer shortage stemming from snarled rail lines.

Those rail line problems — largely a result of the increased use of the rails to transport crude oil — are also causing other problems for farmers, delaying the transport of grains to market and straining storage facilities.

Farmers are lobbying for an expansion of rail lines, but any relief is likely several years away. Mark Watne, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, discusses the situation with Here & Now’s Robin Young.


  • Mark Watne, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union.
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