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“Dire situation” facing grain farmers

Mar. 5, 2014 - Farm groups in Western Canada have given the federal government some ideas on how to get the clogged grain transportation system back on track.

The groups met with Transport Minister Lisa Raitt last week to discuss what they call the dire situation facing grain farmers.

Doug Chorney of Manitoba's Keystone Agricultural Producers says they told Raitt that Ottawa should fine grain shippers that don't meet their commitments.

The groups also suggested the government should toughen and enforce rules that pertain to railways.

Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, says the grain backlog means Canada is losing markets.

The groups, including the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, warn the backlog is so bad that some farmers won't have enough cash to pay for seeding this year's crop.

Meanwhile, the Alberta government is trying to help grain producers by telling them they should consider shipping their crops south to the U.S.

Alberta Agriculture is offering producers a booklet and a video with tips on how to sell across the border. The information includes finding a buyer, choosing and using a U.S. customs broker, U.S. grain grading and purchasing standards, U.S. grain check-offs, and other topics.