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NDSU rail shipment study pulled

North Dakota State University staff confirms a preliminary study of rail shipment delays was withdrawn days after it was released, but the withdrawal has only recently gotten attention.

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North Dakota State University staff confirms a preliminary study of rail shipment delays was withdrawn days after it was released, but the withdrawal has only recently gotten attention.
The study, which estimated the amount money North Dakota farmers have lost to ongoing rail delays, was pulled in May days after it was published, according to professor William Wilson.
“It was released as a preliminary set of results,” Wilson said. “Upon review, the decision was made to withdraw the study.”
The subject of the study’s withdrawal likely arose Thursday during a Surface Transportation Board hearing this week, according to Wilson.
“This isn’t new news,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., reached out to NDSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Economics earlier this year to complete the study. Heitkamp, other politicians and government agencies such as the Agriculture Department have cited the study in the months since.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple cited the study in a Surface Transportation Board hearing in Fargo last week, the Associated Press reported.
The study’s results suggested farmers lost nearly $67 million in revenue because of rail shipment delays from January through April of this year.
Wilson said the study was completed on short notice and with assumptions that likely couldn’t be defended. He emphasized the study’s results were preliminary and shouldn’t be considered an “official publication of the university.”
The study’s author, professor Frayne Olson, could not be reached for comment.

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