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Agricultural Transportation

The Transportation Services Division (TSD) serves as the expert source for economic analysis on agricultural transportation from farm to markets. As part of USDA, we inform, represent, and assist agricultural shippers and government policymakers through: market reports, regulatory representation, economic analysis, transportation disruption reports, technical assistance, outreach to stakeholders, responding to inquiries.

SPOTLIGHT ON: USDA Analysis of 2013-14 Rail Service Problems

Photo: Three part image showing Excel chart, publication cover, and memo.
What was the economic impact from rail service disruptions in 2013 and 2014 on grain farmers and shippers? Senators Thune and Klobuchar asked USDA to answer this question on October 1, 2014. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist conducted an analysis with the assistance of the Agricultural Marketing Service, delivering the report to the Senators on February 20. The preliminary findings show transportation costs are important in explaining why local prices are high or low compared to nearby futures prices or to prices at export destinations. The analysis found that extra shipping costs incurred by grain and oilseed producers in the Upper Midwest from January 1 to November 30—and holding all else constant—were about 3 percent of receipts. Read USDA Analysis of 2013-14 Rail Service Challenges for Senators Thune/Klobuchar (.pdf).

What's New

U.S. Grain Transportation

Find analysis and information about market developments affecting rail, barge, truck, and ocean vessel movements of grain in these reports.

Transportation of Other Agricultural Products

International Transportation Analysis

Agricultural Transportation Research and Information Center

Find useful information and analysis on the transportation of agricultural products and the four major modes– trucking, railroads, barges, and ocean vessels– used to move food from farms to our tables and to ports for export to foreign markets. Find results of on-going research and analysis presented in issue papers and presentations, as well as additional resources available by mode and commodity.

Regulatory Representation

Find comments provided to various regulatory agencies by USDA and AMS, representing the interests of agricultural shippers under the authority of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, and International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs Act of 1982.


Find datasets that are used in producing many of the Transportation Services Division’s publications. These datasets are now available in Excel format for the transportation of grain, biofuels, and other agricultural products.

  Last Modified Date: 03/02/2015