Farm groups across the prairies are calling on the Senate to move quickly to pass Bill C-49 amid new grain transportation issues for producers.

Cold weather this winter is being blamed for a backlog of grain shipments by rail, and that is increasing frustrations for farmers.

Todd Lewis, President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, says the railways have done a poor job providing service to shippers in the province.

"We've had the extended cold weather and there's snow on the mountains, and I think that's why it's so important that the railroads have a plan in place that deals with these situations," he said. "It happens every year, and unfortunately a lot of the grain wasn't moved when the weather was nice, and sadly both are waiting on the coast, and they want the grain, and we cant get it to them. So it's not a very good situation for sure."

Passage of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, has been delayed since December.

Lewis, says CN and CP Rail have provided poor levels of service to shippers in Saskatchewan and adds those problems could have been avoided with the passage of Bill C-49, which is still before the Senate.

Lewis aired his concerns to a Standing Senate Committee on Transportation and Communications last week in Ottawa.

"Tried to impress upon the importance of this bill and we've basically lost the shipping season again this year," he said. "It might have some impact going to the spring with the railroads at the very least we can get some more timely service, but we certainly need to see this thing through the Senate and pass so we can get on with the new regulations and how they are going to affect our system."

Lewis adds APAS and other groups will be in the Nation's Capital again next week for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture meetings and will use this opportunity to push for passage of the bill again.

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