Wheat Growers Hosting Patron/Grower Meetings in Lyman County

on Sun Jun 22 2014, 10:12PM | by Kim

(Aberdeen, SD) --- Patrons and growers are invited to a series of Wheat Growers meetings in Lyman County June 23 and 24. The meetings will focus on Wheat Growers commitment to build a facility in the area, as well as updating the status of the state of South Dakota’s plan to bring heavy rail service from Chamberlain to Presho.
“We are moving forward with our plans to build a first-class grain shuttle facility and agronomy center in Lyman County,” Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken said. “We’re eager to serve the producers in that area, most of whom are already Wheat Growers member-owners thanks to our existing agronomy and grain business. We want to gather input from citizens as we look to bring Wheat Growers service and greater access to reliable markets.”
The first meeting will be June 23 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in Winner at the Holiday Inn Express. The first meeting on June 24 will be at the Reliance City Hall at 10:00 a.m., followed by a 12:30 p.m. meeting at the Kennebec Fire Hall and a 2:30 p.m. meeting in Presho, at the Presho Methodist Church.
Locken praised the Rails to the Future organization and its members for their work in Pierre during the last legislative session, and also for stepping up to the plate and committing resources to help fund the project.
Steve Halverson is Chairman of Rails to the Future. “We are excited that businesses such as Wheat Growers are stepping up to the plate to invest in Lyman County,” Halverson said. “We believe this railroad and its related businesses will be the largest economic development this area has ever seen, and will serve the citizens of central South Dakota for generations to come. The residents of the region saw this opportunity and invested in their future by supporting Rails to the Future.”
“We appreciate the significant effort Rails to the Future has made in organizing and promoting this plan in Pierre and also raising over a million dollars that will be used to help build the heavy rail line and serve as matching funds in obtaining a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation,” Locken said. “It shows the tremendous commitment that the producers, businesses and ag organizations in Lyman County have for this project. We’re patiently waiting the outcome of the state of South Dakota’s commitment to fund and build out heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho.”

Lyman Countty Rail Update

on Sun Jun 22 2014, 05:11PM | by Kim

Please join us for an update on the Lyman County Rail Expansion at one of the meeting locations listed below. We look forward to sharing with you Wheat Growers' commitment to build a facility in the area, as well as an update on the status of the state of South Dakota's plan to bring heavy rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. All are welcome to attend!
June 23, 2014 June 24, 2014
Holiday Inn Express
Winner, SD
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Reliance City Hall
Reliance, SD
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 Kennebec Fire Hall
Kennebec, SD
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
 Methodist Church
Presho, SD
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Rails to the Future Tops $1 Million in Pledges of Match Money!

on Wed Apr 16 2014, 06:50PM | by Kim

With pledges still coming in, Rails to the Future announced they had received pledges of over $1 million on April 16. The money will be used to help build rail and as match money in obtaining a TIGER grant from the US Deprtment of Transportation.

Governor Daugaard Signs Bill to Provide Funding for Railroad Rehabilitation

on Wed Apr 02 2014, 10:42PM | by Kim


Governor Daugaard has signed HB 1041 which appropriates $7.2 million to the Railroad Trust Fund.
The bill originally appropriated $1.2 million to be used for rehabilitation of the railroad bridge at Chamberlain on the state-owned line. It was then amended to add an additional $6 million with the intent to rehabilitate the line further west.

The SD Wheat Growers testified that they would build a $40 million shuttle loader facility and agronomy center if the railroad is rehabilitated at least as far as Lyman.
As a result of the appropriation, the SD Railroad Board has committed $14 million towards application for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in the amount of about $28 million. This amount would allow for the rehabilitation of the railroad all the way to Presho.

The last TIGER grant application was unsuccessful, however, the new appropriation will enable the State to exceed a 50% local match which will improve the chance of obtaining the grant this time.
This is a remarkable opportunity for South Dakota,” said Steve Halverson, President of the Rails to the Future, “We commend Governor Daugaard for his vision and leadership in regard to supporting railroad infrastructure in South Dakota.”

In order to increase the State’s chance of obtaining the new TIGER grant, we need businesses, farmers and other interested parties to send letters of support to the SD DOT by April 15 so they can be included in the grant application,” said Halverson, “The letters should explain the economic development opportunities and benefit that the railroad rehabilitation would create.”

In addition to sending letters of support, it would be even more helpful, if the letter included a pledge of financial support,” said Halverson. “The pledge would only need to be paid if the grant application is successful and the railroad is built.”

Rails to the Future is a grassroots organization that is helping raise money for the railroad rehabilitation. “We have had numerous farmers throughout the region pledge thousands of dollars to this project,” said Halverson. “At our last meeting in Presho, we even had a women who has farmed for 60 years make a $10,000 pledge.”

Letters should be mailed to Bruce Lindholm, Program Manager, South Dakota Department of Transportation, Becker-Hansen Building, 700 E. Broadway Ave., Pierre, SD 57501

Rail authority rehab loan OK'd

on Wed Apr 02 2014, 09:38AM | by Kim

Earlier this month, the Mitchell Rapid City Railroad Authority Board committed to a $3.5 million loan from the state rail board to improve the railroad from Chamberlain to Presho. That commitment was finalized Monday when the rail authority board voted unanimously to approve the loan during a special meeting held via conference call.


Railroad refurbishing project rolls forward

on Fri Mar 21 2014, 01:59PM | by Kim

Railroad refurbishing project rolls forward

from Mitchell Daily Republic

SD State Rail Board approves $3.5 million in grants and $3.5 million in loans for the line west of Chamberlain.

on Wed Mar 19 2014, 02:51PM | by Kim

The SD State Rail Board approves $3.5 million in grants and $3.5 million in loans for the line west of Chamberlain.  That raises the total amount for rehab to $14.2 million. Additional funding will be sought through the TIGER grant program.

Friday Update

on Thu Mar 13 2014, 11:15PM | by Kim


We have some great news to pass on to our membership.  We had two bills floating in the legislature this week.  Our original bill S.B. 137, and also H.B. 1041. H.B. 1041 was Gov. Daugaard’s bill asking for $1.2 million to repair the bridge at Chamberlain. 

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee amended this bill by adding our $6 million to make the bill request $7.2 million. Tuesday this bill was passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 34 yes and 1 no.  Yesterday this bill was before the house and they voted 65 yes and 4 no.  

Huge accomplishment to get this approved by such a large margin in both houses!Our next action is to wait for the governor’s decision to sign or veto the bill.  We feel good about our position at this point and will continue to keep you informed as we move forward.

Today we met with the S.D. Department of Transportation.  The plan is to try to leverage this appropriated money and apply for the next federal TIGER grant.  This would provide more matching funds than previous applications and hopefully would make it more likely to succeed. 

If this grant is successful, we would be able to run heavy rail from Chamberlain to at least Presho.  The applications are due in late April and it would likely be this fall before we know the results.We want to thank everyone for your support!  This was a great team effort and without all of you it would not have been possible.  Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

Rails to the Future

Bill Ferguson, 30394 266th St, Witten SD 57584-6810 840-9015
Steve Halverson, 118 Terri Lane, Pierre SD 57501-5221 222-0270
Bryan Jorgensen, 31250 265th St, Ideal SD 57541-9230 840-9005

Rails to the Future has $7.2 million legislative approval.

on Wed Mar 12 2014, 03:24PM | by Kim

The House has concurred with Senate on allocating $7.2 million for the Rails to the Future.  The Governor still has an opportunity to veto.

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SB 137 Tabled in the House Kim @ (Wed Mar 12 2014, 08:45AM) (Misc)