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After the 2012 drought significantly reduced crop production and, therefore, grain traffic on U.S. railroads in 2012 and early 2013, railroads are anticipating stronger demand for grain transport during the 2013-2014 crop year. That's why Union Pacific Railroad now will offer customers a six-month shuttle commitment program, which enables qualifying shippers to exclusively use rail cars for a pre-determined period of time, providing them with guaranteed transportation capacity, according to a press release. Traditionally, shuttle commitment programs have required an annual commitment. The six-month option will provide shippers with greater flexibility during peak periods, UP officials said. The 2013 corn crop has soared to a new national level, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasting 14 billion bushels of corn will be produced. The previous record was 13.1 billion, set in 2009.