CN Rail strike impacting propane deliveries, preventing grain farmers from drying crop

CTV News

NEW DUNDEE – The possibility of the CN Rail strike lasting for a long time is prompting concerns about its financial implications.

Now into its fifth day, there’s little hope for an immediate resolution. Grain Farmers of Ontario are worried this will do severe damage to their growing season, with one local farmer calling the situation “a major disaster.”

Jim Einwechter relies on propane to dry his corn after it comes off the field. Without it, those crops will spoil.

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On Friday, he says he was told that he will no longer have propane delivered to his grain elevator because of the strike.

“Our drying revenue will be basically very much down,” he says.

“This is the one time of the year we can make something and then this turns up.”

About 3,200 conductors, trainpersons and yard workers with CN Rail walked off the job on Tuesday, halting freight trains across the country.

Einwechter says that freight interruption—and the resulting propane shortage—will cost him and his family.

“Sometime tonight we’ll be out and then we’ll have to shut down,” the farmer told CTV on Saturday.

The gravity of the situation is being felt higher than farmers, too.

If grain farmers don’t get their propane soon, consumers will feel the effects.

“We have to have that propane to dry that corn and we have to have that corn harvested before it snows or it’s too late,” explains Mark Reusser, vice president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

Already the strike comes at a time when farmers are dealing with one of the most difficult harvest they’ve seen in decades, the chair of Grain Farmers Ontario says.

“We’re actually two to three weeks behind in regular harvest period,” explains Marcus Haerle.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is urging the federal government to address this issue and find an immediate solution to getting propane to farmers.

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