Business: Grounded Grain

Midwest harvest headache

When farmers complain, it is usually about Washington or the weather.

This year they have a different gripe: labor disputes are plaguing the nation's overburdened crop distribution system at a time when bin-busting harvests and a high export demand augur a booming farm economy. Since late August the United Transportation Union and the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks have halted operations on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, which serves 1,680 grain elevators in the Midwest. And for almost three months a strike by the American Federation of Grain...

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