In written comments to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the National Corn Growers Association voiced its concern over the railroad industry’s request to discontinue shipping anhydrous ammonia — a source of nitrogen fertilizer.

NCGA maintains that without anhydrous ammonia, U.S. farmers would be unable to produce the amount, or quality of food the world has come to rely on.

“Anhydrous ammonia is a vital and essential plant nutrient that is critical to the nation’s food supply,” stated NCGA President Ron Litterer. “Rail is the safest and most efficient method for transporting this critical agricultural product.”

According to the Interstate Commerce Act and reaffirmed by the Staggers Act, railroads cannot be selective in determining which commodities to transport based purely upon their self-interest. NCGA believes that while the STB may have an advisory role in making recommendations to Congress on railroad common carrier obligation, only Congress has the authority to change this obligation.

“Anhydrous ammonia is an essential agricultural nutrient used to grow the nation’s food supply,” the letter continued. “With increased concern over escalating food prices, as well as food shortages around the world, it is critical that American farmers have anhydrous ammonia when and where they need it.”