CP issued a lockout notice for early Sunday morning, with the Teamsters Canada Railway Conference issuing its own strike notice on Friday.

Ian Boxall,  President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, says a rail strike should be a key concern for everyone, including all aspects of the ag sector.

"I think ensuring that we get our inputs in place for this spring seeding, that should be a concern with this potential strike. Also, getting the feed grains that have been brought up from the states by rail for the cattle producers who saw shortage in feed last year because of the drought. Those are two of the biggest concerns for producers, you know, as this strike moves forward."

James Bekkering, NCFA Chair, says any stoppage of trains coming into Canada would be devastating to the Canadian cattle industry.

"We have been dealing with feed shortages over the last few months and are completely reliant on feed coming from the United States."

CCA President Bob Lowe says the feedlot sector in Saskatchewan and Alberta has a million head of cattle, relying on corn coming up on CP Rail.

"If they do go on strike and if the trains are not rolling in two weeks. You know less than two weeks. It's still got to get here, and get unloaded. So if the trains aren't running, this will be an animal welfare disaster. There's just no Plan B. There is no grain here to rely on..... it's gonna be a wreck."

Lowe says they have communicated with both negotiating parties and Government representatives about the absolute need to have trains continuing to move.

He says they remain hopeful that they will reach a resolution and are pleased to see them remain at the negotiating table.

Grain Growers of Canada chair Andre Harpe is concerned about the impact a work stoppage would have on the agricultural supply chain.

He says for grain farmers, the railways represent a lifeline, noting the news leaves Canadian farmers in a particularly vulnerable position.

"This is the time of year when we receive critical deliveries of fertilizer and other inputs required to put a crop in the ground. And we also need to move what little grain our members may have left, following last year’s disappointing crop year, in order to support our cash flow for spring planting."

Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the Western Grains Elevator Association agrees saying a stoppage in shipping has a number of implications for the grain sector.

"We have to deal with vessel demurrage. We deal with contract extension penalties, the contract defaults. Our reputation with our customers are in the toilet this year. It's just terrible. You know, when we had a short crop, they were expressing concerns and, and we responded at that time. Yep, we're about two thirds of normal, but we should be able to get it to you in a timely way. And that hasn't happened."

Keith Currie, First Vice President with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, says over the last couple of years we've certainly experienced what happens when there's a rail shutdown.

"We had the blockades and the CN strike in the past. And it really, really crippled the country and crippled, food exports, food movement, supplies getting to and from the farm. And while we certainly respect the collective bargaining process and everyone's right to strike. This is a coming at a very crucial time for agriculture, as we're gearing up for spring planting. Our crop inputs are starting to get onto the farm, and our products getting out. So, it's certainly very crucial to maintain that transportation system going as we know it."

The agriculture sector agreeing the government needs to do what it can to prevent a disruption in the supply chain, and to look at designating railways an essential service.