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GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS FARMER RAIL CAR COALITION

Released on April 23, 2002

The Saskatchewan government continues to support western farmer ownership

of the federal government's hopper car fleet.



Grain Car Corporation chair Mark Wartman today announced Saskatchewan's

ongoing support for the Farmer Rail Car Coalition (FRCC) initiative after

the federal government recently announced its intentions to dispose of the

cars.



"The FRCC represents the interests of western farmers and will do what is

best for farmers," Wartman said. "We will continue working with the FRCC

in its efforts to obtain ownership of hopper cars."



The rail car corporation was formed in 1996 after the federal government

announced its intention to sell the 13,000 federal hopper cars. The

federal government decided to postpone the sale of the fleet for a five-

year period to allow the railroads' first right of refusal to lapse.



A first right of refusal allowed the railways to match any other bid on the

cars. On June 30th, 2002 the right of refusal will expire. The provincial

government has provided the rail car corporation with over $250,000 in

funding to assist it in organizing and positioning producers to make a

formal bid for the fleet.



"If the FRCC is able to gain ownership of the federal hopper fleet, it will

ensure that these cars will benefit farmers," Wartman said. "Farmers will

have a greater voice in the future of the grain transportation industry."



The Farmer Rail Car Corporation is made up of seven farmer organizations

including Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, National

Farmers' Union, Wild Rose Agricultural Producers of Alberta, Keystone

Agricultural Producers of Manitoba, Saskatchewan Canola Growers, Family

Farm Foundation and Southern Rails Co-operative.



The FRCC is preparing to make a formal bid for the fleet.



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For more information, contact:



Vanessa Gooliaff Beaupré

Highways and Transportation

Regina

Phone: (306) 787-4792

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