According to NGFA, in comments submitted on Sept. 21, the NGFA urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to extend the emergency declaration for livestock and feed to help provide necessary additional trucking capacity for the agricultural supply chain.

Agricultural shippers have been experiencing significant rail service challenges and emergency truck freight has been indispensable to help meet demand, NGFA noted in response to FMCSA’s request for input on the extent to which motor carriers currently rely on the emergency declaration.

“Even though truck transportation capacity is tight, agricultural shippers have been forced to find extra truck freight to help fill the void where rail is unavailable or unreliable,” the comments state. “While the trucking industry is doing what it can to help with the rail service challenges, there is a limited amount of trucking capacity.”

Noting that the Surface Transportation Board called an urgent hearing in April to address rail service challenges, NGFA emphasized that rail carriers do not have enough rail workers to service freight demand. There has been a 20 percent decrease in train and engine employees compared to five years ago, the comments noted.

“The emergency declaration for livestock and feed is still needed to provide flexibility during the ongoing supply chain challenges,” NGFA concluded.