Posted 7/31/2014 07:38 (#3994525) Subject: White Shadow, The pain has .....
Death comes to us all. Life's but a walking shadow
Not to dwell on sore subject but a couple of questions about you situation, Is your situation more the result of simply the lack of rail cars and rail service or the general situation of too much grain complicated by the lack of railroad service? If you had more than enough rail cars at an acceptable price would that change the situation or does it merely move the bottleneck to the ports and destinations? After all you can only export just so much grain through a port and importing countries only take grain as they need it.
I raise the question because if it is merely the lack of cars that's a short term problem that can be solve with more cars. (For instance, given the decline in coal burning there very well may be excess coal hopper cars just sitting unused. Maybe all that's needed is to cover them and "voila" more cars.) I'm not trying to be facetious or minimize the seriousness of your situation but sometimes if you clearly define the problem the solution is more obvious.
I hesitate to suggest this second approach because I know just how disinclined many of you feel about government involvement (including myself, I have my own share of difficulties with government agencies). However if the railroad company is taking unfair advantage of the situation it may be appropriate to seek some political intervention. After all the reason we have political institutions is to avoid having to bash each other's heads in with heavy clubs every time we disagree. If one segment of the economy seeks to destroy another segment by withholding service (and price gouging is a tool) that's the time to consider a political approach.
Let's make a fairness argument. The Miss. Ohio river barge system, built and run by the US government at taxpayer expense because people clearly understood the tremendous economic benefit to the Midwest. Anyone who farms within easy distance of the river system (and I mean Ill, Ind, Ohio, Iowa & points south) have a tremendous, tremendous competitive advantage which many of whom don't really appreciate. Talk about unfair, not only do they have some of the best soils and growing climate in the world but a taxpayer funded dedicated transportation system as well. So is it entirely fair that one group gets all the advantage while another group is allowed to wither away and die?
Finally, you certainly have the political power available, with six US senators between ND, SD & Minn. you have as much political power as an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Remember just as war is an extension of politics, politics is an extension of economics. Even George Washington understood this.
For what it's worth.