WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Thousands of railroad workers nationwide are preparing to walk off the job Friday, threatening to disrupt many parts of the economy. In Kansas, the strike could have a serious impact on agriculture.
The Association of American Railroads shared that this strike could cost $2 billion a day, and everything from grain, feed lots, and food prices could suffer.
“The timing of this could really not be any worse,” said Troy Presley, CoMark Equity Alliance Grain Division manager.
CoMark Equity Alliance purchases and sells grain with 27 co-ops.
If this strike were to happen, Presley said it could impact the supply chain.
“For feed lots, ethanol plants, mills potentially bringing in wheat for flour,” said Presley.
With a dry summer, crops are not doing well, causing companies like CoMark to import from elsewhere to keep places like feed lots and ethanol plants full.
Over at Garden City Co-op, it sends out wheat through the railroad, and in a normal year, that could be a bigger issue, but this year they have less crop.
“We have enough space that we can manage through that now certainly there will be a cash flow or financial impact that comes from not being able to ship grain,” said Garden City Co-op Vice President of Grain, Michael Wisner.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is urging Congress to take action.
“With the trucking industry and other transportation systems already at max capacity, there is no alternative plan that could mitigate the losses in case of a rail transportation strike and that rail service coming to an end,” said Moran.
Experts said if this strike happens, this could shut down nearly 7,000 trains, but answers won’t come until Friday.
“Everyone is watching this very, very closely and trying to make any adjustments possible in the next weeks to come,” said Wisner.
KSN did reach out to the Wichita Terminal Association to see where it stands on this strike but has not heard back.
Sen. Moran said if this strike happens, he plans to shield the impact of the strike in Congress.