UP 6774 with grain train

Foster Farms’ Latest Emergency Rail Service Petition Denied as Moot

Feb. 16, 2023
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) denied Foster Farms’ December 2022 call for an emergency service order from Union Pacific (UP) railroad.

Calling the latest petition “moot,” the Surface Transportation Board (STB) denied Foster Farms’ December 2022 call for an emergency service order from Union Pacific (UP) railroad, the latest in a nearly yearlong struggle between the companies over animal feed deliveries.

Foster Farms had filed this petition for an emergency service order — its second of the year — on Dec. 29, 2022, after which UP was directed to send trains of corn to the processor’s facilities to address feed shortages there. Rail service to Foster Farms’ Traver, Turlock and Delhi, Calif., facilities had experienced “substantial, measurable deterioration,” Foster Farms claimed.

This week, the STB announced that it considers the petition moot based on the five trains ordered to deliver the feed in January. STB stated that, according to Foster Farms, all three facilities would be fully operational upon delivery of those five trains. 

However, in the latest announcement, the STB did direct UP to file status reports each week until May 15, and in an acknowledgement of its sensitivity to the processor’s concerns, will leave the docket open until Aug. 14, 2023. In addition, STB stated its belief that the general rail service issues Foster Farms is experiencing may be recurrent, since it has reported unpredictable service since February of 2022.

The STB also encouraged UP and Foster Farms to “work together, and with the Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance, as appropriate, to ensure adequate rail service to Foster Farms’ facilities.”

STB granted Foster Farms’ first petition in June 2022, and issued an emergency service order. 

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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