Ag Sees Potential in DM&E Sale

Proposed deal raises hope for better rail access to markets.

The proposed sale of the Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad has renewed agriculture's hope that better access to big markets is just around the bend.

Canadian Pacific has offered nearly $1.5 billion to buy the DM&E.

The sale renews hope that DM&E line across the state will be upgraded. The federal government recently rejected the DM&E's application for a multi-billion loan to upgrade its track and build a new line into Wyoming to haul coal. Regulators said that the DM&E was too small, didn't have enough cash and might be able to pay back the loan.

If the Canadian Pacific bought the DM&E, shippers on the DM&E line would also have new rail service to important markets.

"Look where [the Canadian Pacific Railroad] goes, to the Northeast," said Lisa Richardson, executive director of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, in an interview with KELO-TV. "That's a huge market for us because that's where the people are. It's a reformed gasoline market and the opportunity to get there is outstanding."

The sale would also give South Dakota grain elevators another route to the Pacific Northwest ports that serve Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.

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