Wheat Growers (SD) Supports South Dakota SB137 Rail Legislation and Rails to the Future
Date Posted: March 7, 2014
Aberdeen, SDA bill supported by Rails to the Future would provide $6 million to rehabilitate the state-owned railroad west of Chamberlain to Presho is, according to Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken, “an opportunity to provide access to the best markets in the world and achieve the best prices for farmers in that area.”
Wheat Growers added their support to Senate Bill 137 in testimony before the South Dakota Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Rails to the Future is an organization of South Dakota farmers and citizens who support investment in the state-owned rail west of Chamberlain.
“We believe that heavy rail service west of Chamberlain will provide economic returns that will far exceed the investment in rehabilitation of the rail line,” Locken said.
“It would increase gross incomes back to farmers which will then be re-invested into their communities and the state. It would also reduce truck traffic and truck repair costs in the region.”
In addition to its support of the expansion funding, Wheat Growers’ Board of Directors has unanimously approved plans to build a facility in Lyman, South Dakota, this would include an agronomy service center, a fertilizer terminal and a 110-railcar grain shuttle loader.
The Board’s decision is contingent on the funding and approval by the State of South Dakota of the plan to provide heavy rail service to handle Class 1 shuttle trains west of Chamberlain to Lyman.
The proposed rail line would give grain producers in the area access to the grain markets from the Burlington Northern, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Union Pacific rail lines.
Current estimates are that such a grain handling facility would result in a 15- to 30-cents per bushel increase in grain prices to producers west of the river.
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