Inside Track


UP Plays Important Role During Harvest Season

Posted December 1, 2014 08:27 AM CDT

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From left are Tricia, Bryce, Drew and Jeremy Ostransky at their farm in Wahoo, Nebraska. “My three-year-old son, Drew, he loves trains,” Jeremy Ostransky said. “When we drive over the viaduct in Elkhorn, Nebraska, once in a while we’ll see a train, but most of the time there’s not one. If there isn’t one, he always says, ‘No trains! Darn it.’”

Jeremy Ostransky is a fourth generation farmer in Bennington, Nebraska. When Ostransky was in high school, his grandpa gave him 15 acres to work. “I held on to the land while I studied agriculture business in college. After I graduated, I wanted to farm, but it just wasn’t going to work,” Ostransky said. “So I went and got a full-time job, and farmed after work and on the weekends.”

After 10 years of farming part-time while holding down a full time-job, Ostransky has finally transitioned to carrying on the family legacy full-time with his father.

The railroad is an important part of the process for farmers like Ostransky. Without the railroad, Ostransky wouldn’t be able to transport his grain efficiently. “I know that’s been an issue this year, especially further north. Any time you have grain sitting outside it’s a big risk,” Ostransky said. “If the grain goes bad because they can’t transport it, everyone loses a lot of money.”

Jeff Wearden knows all too well the railroad’s importance to our nation’s agriculture industry. Wearden is the facility business manager at the Scoular grain elevator located in Fremont, Nebraska.

“You have to have the transportation. That’s what it’s all about,” Wearden said. “It’s how you access markets. If we weren’t situated near the UP, we wouldn’t have access to global markets.”

Wearden’s elevator is one of the few whose location allows it to effectively and efficiently transport grain to the East Coast by rail. “A lot of people don’t realize that agriculture is a global industry. So much of our country’s economy revolves around agriculture and quick, efficient access to global markets,” Wearden said.

Every year during harvest season, UP reminds farmers to be safe when in the field near rail operations. It’s a message that Ostransky plans to share with his sons when they’re older. Ostransky feels fortunate that he was able to carry on his family’s tradition, and he hopes that both of his sons will be interested in farming when they grow up.

“At the end of the day, I can actually see what I’ve accomplished and I know I’ve made a difference,” Ostransky said. “There’s nothing better than working for yourself.”