Pair of rail projects advance

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Farm Forum

PIERRE — Two projects intended to promote the production and processing of various kinds of peas in central South Dakota received assistance on July 15 from the state Railroad Board.

The board approved placing switches for a siding at Reliance along the state-owned Mitchell-Rapid City line that is being redeveloped.

Reliance Rail LLC, represented by Brad Karlen, wants to build a loading facility there.

The board also agreed to loan $696,000 to South Dakota Pulse Processors for construction of a siding at Harrold along the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad’s line.

The company has work underway on a new processing plant. CEO Steve Brown told the state board the building materials are at the site and processing should begin by the end of the year.

The loan is at a rate of 2 percent interest, amortized over 15 years, with a balloon payment due after seven years.

The board also heard from Jerry Cope, a board member who is employed by Dakota Mill and Grain at Rapid City, about the company’s continued interest in possibly purchasing land along the state-owned line at Presho.

Cope formally recused himself before explaining that Dakota Mill and Grain wants to proceed with platting and appraisal work. The company is considering both sides of the track, he said.

“We’re just asking to explore it and proceed,” Cope said.

Rosebud Concrete also is interested in possibly having access to the state-owned line at Presho.

“We’re not in it to shut anybody off or shut anybody out,” Cope said.

State board chairman Todd Yeaton said the two companies should work with officials in the state railroad office on reaching a tentative agreement on access at Presho.

The old siding is on the north side of the track.

“We sure support what you want to do moving forward,” Yeaton said.

A major rehabilitation project began this summer from Chamberlain to Presho along the line.

Wheat Growers has already committed to major grain-loading and fertilizer distribution facilities at Kennebec along the route.

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