Capdiamont\’s Weblog

MIJ: Dominic Grossi: Freight trains will help Marin dairies be competitive
Saturday 22 Dec 2007, 10:48
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad

Staff Report
Article Launched: 12/22/2007 12:08:57 AM PSTDominic Grossi

THERE IS AN important issue being debated in Novato and Marin that has a direct correlation to agriculture.

The Northwestern Pacific Railroad is in the process of reopening the railroad to allow freight trains to haul cargo from throughout the United States up to Willits. Along the way, many important stops can be made here in Marin and throughout the North Bay. While I understand Novato has concerns about noise and safety, there are a number of benefits not just to ranchers but the public as well.

Agriculture is one of Marin’s key industries as it is one of the largest contributors to our local economy. I am well aware of Marin’s support of agriculture by elected county officials as well as the good people of Marin County.

The cost to produce milk in Marin is about $3 more per hundred pounds of milk than the cost in the Central Valley. This is directly related to the additional shipping costs of the feed. Dairy producers in the North Bay have feed trucked in from the valley. Dairymans Milling in Novato would have the ability to bring all their grains in on rail at a savings of $10 to $12 per ton.

For our dairy industry to continue to be competitive with milk producers in the Central Valley, we must
do our best to become more efficient and to reduce that additional $3 cost. The opening of the railroad would drastically help to do this by bringing feed to our area in a much more efficient and cost-effective way.

Feed is not the only valuable commodity that could come in on rail. Rock quarries are closing and Dillon Beach sand already has been closed for environmental reasons. The superiority of rail freight transfer would be great benefit not just to agriculture, but a number of other entities that use these and other resources. There are other additional raw materials that also will come in by rail from the East. These materials will help our entire county by lowering the costs we incur for daily living expenses

Additional benefits include cleaner air, reduced fuel use and less traffic congestion. With 40,000 dairy cows in the region, which will eat about 25 pounds of concentrated feed every day, about one million pounds comes in on trucks everyday. This equates to about 20 truck and trailer loads daily. These trucks could be eliminated from our congested roads and their exhaust from our air.

Dominic Grossi is president of the Marin County Farm Bureau.

Comments Off on MIJ: Dominic Grossi: Freight trains will help Marin dairies be competitive

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: