Efficient and cost-effective transportation is essential to the operations of wheat producers. Working to make the transportation system function better for our members is a key NAWG priority.

NAWG’s transportation work focuses on three main areas: rail competitiveness, trucking policy and waterways redevelopment.

Rail Competitiveness

When Congress passed the Staggers Act in 1980 there were more than 40 Class I railroads competing for business. Today, after more than 50 mergers and consolidations, there are seven Class I railroads, and four of them control more than 95 percent of the railroad business. Three control more than 70 percent of grain movement. Consolidation has led states, regions and entire industries to become captive to a single railroad. This level of concentration and lack of competition was never envisioned by Congress.

Many wheat growers continue to face significant issues with both rail rates and service, and NAWG staff works with Members of Congress, rail companies and coalition partners to seek relief and resolution to these issues and others related to rail captivity and capacity.

NAWG has frequently worked on rail policy with the Alliance for Rail Competition (ARC) and Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE). NAWG also participates in BNSF’s Ag Rail Business Council and is looking to engage in similar discussions with leaders of other railroads, including Union Pacific.


NAWG actively follows surface transportation policy being considered by Congress and administered by the Department of Transportation and other agencies. One priority in this process is maintaining the agricultural hours-of-service (ag HOS) exemption, which exempts agricultural carriers from hours-of-service regulations if they are operating only within a 100-mile radius from their central bases of operation.

NAWG believes the definition of “interstate commerce” should be clarified to ensure that farm trucks operating within state borders, regardless of the final destination of the product, are exempt from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

NAWG is also concerned about the safety of producers and others on our nation’s roadways, particularly during the busy harvest season.


NAWG is working with a number of commodity groups and agricultural companies to petition USDA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse the Administration’s decision to limit the availability of important funding used to improve and maintain the Mississippi River.