CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Grain elevator managers need railroads to haul grain to locations waiting for it, and they also need empty railcars so room can be made for more in-coming grain from farms. But Mark Heil of Prairie Central Co-op says that’s not happening

“We are seeing supply chain issues present themselves, and it is having an impact back on the grain elevator shippers, both the origins and the destinations of the grain that is loaded here in this country,” Heil said.

Railroads are pretty important to country elevators…

“Very, very important,” Heil said. “The modes of transportation, grain can go north, south, east, or west, on different modes of transportation and rail is an important part of that. Its feeding export markets in the Pacific Northwest. It feeds the domestic livestock industry in California. We also see it going to New Orleans and Mexico for export. And when logistics related to that are not working the way it normally does, it creates pressure on everyone in the grain industry.”

On behalf of Mark Heil and his colleagues, the National Grain and feed Association has asked the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees railroad operations, for help in solving the problems.

“If nothing else, I think its just the grain industry saying, ‘hey, its extreme here,’ if you start running out of grain that a poultry user or cattle user are running out of product and they don’t have any other options, it’s a serious event that is happening and we have heard more of that in recent weeks and months, than we have in times past,” Heil said. “And I think it was just a moment that we need some help here. The industry has tried to be a flexible as we can here, but please pay attention to what’s going on here, because its important.”

There is a lot more to this story, and you’ll hear it on our weekend show, Midwest Ag This week. But for now, that’s our report from the farm. I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA-3, your local news leader.