SD rail board might issue bonds

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Farm Forum

PIERRE — The South Dakota Railroad Board next month might discuss issuing bonds so more loans can be made for agricultural development projects.

The board tabled a $5 million loan request on May 18 from Ringneck Energy for rail service at a proposed ethanol plant in Onida. Board Chairman Todd Yeaton of Kimball said there already are $15 million to $18 million of loan requests from other projects.

“The well’s a little bit on the dry side,” Yeaton told Ringneck’s representatives. “By the time we get through the requests, we could be four years down the road.”

The board has authority to go into debt for rail projects. Yeaton said that is a route to consider.

State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said a meet-and-pass siding would be beneficial on the state-owned Mitchell-Rapid City railroad. He said it could be a state-constructed siding.

Grain trains will increase on the Mitchell-Rapid City line as Wheat Growers opens its new facility in Kennebec. The Mitchell-Rapid City line is being rebuilt from Chamberlain to Presho. The line already has grain traffic from the elevator at Kimball.

Yeaton, who manages the Kimball elevator, spoke highly about the Onida ethanol project.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Sully County. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone. We’re hamstrung,” Yeaton said.

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