MONTREAL, QUÉBEC, CANADA — Canadian National Railway (CN) is preparing to transport the 2019-20  grain crop with a grain plan and new agricultural advisory council.

The grain plan reviews CN’s performance during the previous crop year and assesses its ability to move anticipated levels of grain during the upcoming crop year. It also identifies specific steps that the company is taking to ensure it has the necessary capacity to move grain efficiently. For the second year, CN will again voluntarily update the plan on a monthly basis to ensure transparency and accountability. 

The grain plan is developed through consultations with grain industry stakeholders. During June and July, CN consulted with leaders of major farming and commodity organizations and customers, seeking their input into the grain plan for the 2019–20 crop year.

“CN moved over 27.5 million tonnes of grain during the 2018-19 crop year and broke several records, further demonstrating that by working together with members of the agricultural sector, we can achieve great things,” said Sean Finn, executive vice-president, corporate services, and chief legal officer of CN.

The 2019-20 grain plan was developed using four interrelated factors: projected grain supply, maximum sustainable supply chain capacity, CN’s capacity improvements and CN’s grain marketing programs.

“After having the opportunity, over the past few years, of meeting with farm leaders and agricultural groups, the creation of an advisory council became an obvious way to keep the discussion going on how to better serve our agriculture partners,” Finn said. “We want them to raise issues and offer us unbiased and honest perspectives on what works, what does not, what needs to be improved and what are key future trends. We look forward to working closely with them and listening to their concerns and advice.”

CN created the Agricultural Advisory Council to be one of the main consultative bodies to provide the company with advice on the CN Annual Grain Plan and feedback on the CN Winter Plan. It will also serve as a forum to discuss policy issues that impact the agricultural industry, including the international trade situation, regulatory barriers and other emerging issues.

“It is important to have farmers at the table when it comes to improving services that impact them directly,” said Alanna Koch, chair of the CN Agriculture Advisory Council. “I welcome the opportunity to work with CN to ensure that the path of building strong relationships with growers and key agriculture stakeholders continues and that it adds value to improving the supply chain.”

The council is composed of 10 representatives from the agricultural sector as well as CN representatives and will meet on a quarterly basis to offer an ongoing forum for improved information exchange between CN and the agriculture sector.

Saskatchewan members:

  • Alanna Koch, Edenwold, farmer, consultant, former Saskatchewan Agriculture Deputy Minister, chair, CN Agricultural Advisory Committee
  • Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, Mossbank, director, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, Public Speaker on Ag Advocacy
  • Todd Lewis, Gray, president, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan
  • Jim Wickett, Rosetown, chair, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association

Manitoba members:

  • Fred Greig, Reston, chair, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, former director, Manitoba Pulse Growers Association
  • Paul Orsak, Russell, former director, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association  

Alberta members:

  • Dave Bishop, Barons, chair, Alberta Barley Commission, regional representative, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Jeff Nielsen, Olds, chair, Grain Growers of Canada, director, Alberta Barley Commission
  • Bernie Schoorlemmer, Rycroft, former director, Alberta Pulse Growers

British Columbia member:

  • Barry Follensbee, Rolla, director, BC Grain Producers Association, former director, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Council Advisors:

  • Dale Eisler, senior policy fellow, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina
  • Kim McConnell, founder, AdFarm

To review CN’s complete 2019-20 grain plan, click here.