Home>Articles>Federal Govt. Orders Union Pacific To Deliver Livestock Feed To California After Numerous Delays

Surface Transportation Board (Photo: stb.gov)

Federal Govt. Orders Union Pacific To Deliver Livestock Feed To California After Numerous Delays

Foster Farms granted emergency order after weeks of feed delays

By Evan Symon, January 4, 2023 2:45 am

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board issued an emergency order on Tuesday to force the Union Pacific railroad to haul corn and grain to California to prevent millions of chickens and cattle belonging to Foster Farms from starving.

Last year, the Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific had been given a similar order to deliver livestock feed to Livingston-based foster farms due to Great Resignation stressed shortage of crews. While feed was delivered, a July extension to guarantee deliveries was denied by the STB as service problems had been fixed. Freight service continued regularly throughout most of the rest of 2022. However, bad weather in the Western US quickly changed things, and many trains did not go out. As a result, on December 29th, Foster Farms filed a petition with the STB for another emergency order.

The very next day, the STB told Union Pacific to fulfil all service commitments, and if by January 3rd if schedules were still being deviated, an emergency order would once again be given. With the orders still going unfulfilled on Tuesday, the STB stepped in, forcing Union Pacific to comply once again.

Foster Farms now has priority in feed trains coming from the Central U.S. to fulfil orders for livestock and poultry facilities in several locations in California, including Traver, Turlock, and Delhi. While the order is out, the railroad has warned that continued inclement weather along the rail routes may bring further delays, and could force Foster Farms to continue emergency measures of trucking in more expensive feed rather than utilize the more cost effective rail system.

“Last month’s extreme cold and blizzard conditions slowed deliveries in 20 of the 23 western states the railroad operates in, and additional problems are possible because of the forecast for more severe winter weather,” said Union Pacific spokesman Mike Jaixen on Tuesday. “Union Pacific remains committed to serving all of our customers as efficiently as possible, including Foster Farms, weather permitting.”

However, Foster Farms remains more skeptical. In a letter to the STB last week, Foster Farms said that they remained skeptical that they would come through on their promise of delivering more feed after failing to have deliveries on time since mid-December.

Industry experts also noted that continued problems could lead to more adverse side effects.

“UP promised to get the grain out, but at the same time, weather has forced their hand,” explained  railroad industry analyst Analise Miller to the Globe on Tuesday. “It’s comparable to a plane delay. If the pilots are striking or the airline mismanaged routes, they can be blamed. But bad weather or a shortage of workers despite the company quickly trying to hire people, those things tip the needle from fault to outside forces causing it.”

“UP really needs to get moving on this though. Corn and grain from the Midwest are a big part of many freight haulers annual tonnage, especially to states that can’t grow it as well. And, in return, a lot of winter fruits and vegetables and other things not easily obtainable during the winter are sent back either by train or by truck. This trade between California and the Midwest has remained constant for over 100 years, only now there is less citrus and more things like almonds and avocados heading out instead now. And people forget that the feed keeps the prices of things like chicken and turkey so low in stores in California, so it’s very important.”

“If this keeps up, you know, we may be looking at state intervention or laws, and that is something that both the  railroad and food industries don’t want, so hopefully we can get this all back on track, no pun intended, soon.”

Updates from the STB are expected soon.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


3 thoughts on “Federal Govt. Orders Union Pacific To Deliver Livestock Feed To California After Numerous Delays

  1. Inquiring minds want to know – Is Union Pacific still mandating new employees to be shot up & boosted with the clot-shots???
    Could that be hampering their hiring efforts???

    Nope – “currently stayed” and new hires into North Platte are 20-25K hiring-bonus eligible… but the physical requirements are probably too stringent for many people….

  2. It seems to me that the RR’s are in on the NWO program of artificially created shortages of food and other essentials.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *