Buffett Talks to Secretary Vilsack

Tom Vilsack, current Agriculture Secretary, mentioned on Tuesday that he spoke with Warren Buffett last Friday about the railcar shortages in the upper Plains, as well as the slow service being experienced by farmers and country elevators.

Talking with reporters at the end of the Growth Energy event, the Agriculture Secretary said that this particular conversation took place in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway office in Omaha. He mentioned that Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, the company owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has made commitments to improve the infrastructure and service of the railroad.

Vilsack also mentioned to reporters that the Canadian Pacific “needs a little work.”

But the secretary also mentioned that he has not had any official contact with Canadian Pacific because he felt that the proper way for the Obama administration to communicate with them is through the Surface Transportation Board, which is specifically requiring statements from both of the railroads about railcar delivery and service for the harvest season.

An official at the USDA also mentioned in a follow-up email that Warren Buffett and the secretary talked about the wide range economic development work that is being supported by the USDA throughout America.

“The discussion included USDA’s many grant and loan programs, and the secretary’s efforts to secure private-sector investment in rural businesses with the new Rural Business Investment Company and in infrastructure projects through the new Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund,” the official said.

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