U.S.D.A. releases major ag transportation report

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a comprehensive report on agricultural transportation in the United States, the first ever of this magnitude. The report, Study of Rural Transportation Issues, was mandated by the 2008 farm bill and covers the four major modes of transportation commonly used by agriculture in the United States: truck, rail, barge and ocean vessel.

“Agriculture is the largest user of freight transportation in the United States, with 31% of all ton-miles recorded in 2007 being used in the movement of agricultural products,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “This report provides policy makers the vital information needed to make strategic infrastructure and policy decisions to meet rural America’s transportation needs, now and in the future.”

The report examines some of the major issues facing agricultural transportation, including: the effect of deregulation on the rail industry, a growing gap for funding the inland waterways and highway systems, availability of containers and ocean vessel capacity, and the infrastructure that may be needed to support a projected increase in biofuel transportation.

The report may be found at www.ams.usda.gov/RuralTransportationStudy.
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