Montana Grain Growers Seek to Mediate With BNSF

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – Montana farm groups are seeking to mediate with BNSF railway over a proposed grain shipping rate hike slated to go into effect with the New Year.

Grain growers in central Montana have long complained of being subject to unfair price increases. The request for mediation is the first since the railway signed a January dispute resolution agreement with the Montana Grain Growers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau.

It follows a complaint lodged by a Shelby wheat producer over shipping rates between Shelby and Portland, Ore..

Lola Raska with the Montana Grain Growers Association says the 3-cent increase, to 76-cents per bushel, would apply to 5 to 7 million bushels of grain annually. It could cost farmers up to $210,000 a year.