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Deadlines loom for grain-monitoring programs

Associations say tracking railway performance must continue

Grain silo and train

Grain farmers and shippers have their eye on a couple of other deadlines.

The federal government’s grain monitor’s contract ends in July 2017, while federal funding that helps the Ag Transport Coalition track railway performance ends in March 2017.

“We need the data and so does the government so we can say, ‘Here’s what we need done,’” Keystone Agricultural Producers president Dan Mazier said. “Without information we can’t have a good discussion.

“We don’t want to lose that tool.”

Edmonton-based Quorum Corporation has been the grain transportation monitor since 2001. Its monitoring, which tracks grain from elevator to ship, goes back to 1999. The company has had its contract renewed every three or four years.

The Western Grain Elevator Association expects Quorum’s contract will be renewed, said association executive director Wade Sobkowich.

“We hold Quorum’s services that it provides for the government and for the industry in very high regard,” he said. “It is a very useful source of data… to look at and see how things are moving. It is an impartial third-party monitor of the system. It would be a major loss if something were to change in that regard.”

The coalition, made up of several commodity groups and grain companies, started monitoring rail performance in connection to car order fulfilment in January 2015 with funding from Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial program, and coalition members.

The coalition’s members are: The Canadian Canola Growers Association, the Alberta Wheat Commission, Pulse Canada, the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association, the Western Grain Elevator Association, the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association, the Inland Terminal Association of Canada and the Canadian Special Crops Association.

About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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