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Grain and agronomy cooperative Wheat Growers plans to hold a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday for a grain handling and agronomy facility in Kennebec, S.D.The agronomy facility is expected to open in the winter of 2015/16 and the grain handling facility is scheduled for completion by fall 2016. The site will be developed along a soon-to-be-rehabilitated Mitchell-Rapid City (MRC) rail line owned by the state of South Dakota between Chamberlain and Presho."Wheat Growers had previously pledged to build a shuttle loader grain-handling facility and agronomy center in Lyman County if the state rehabilitated the Chamberlain-to-Presho route," Wheat Growers officials said in an announcement posted on the cooperative's web site.The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded a $12.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VI grant to the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SSDOT) to help fund the $29.9 million project, which calls for restoring rail service to a 41.6-mile branch line. The work involves replacing obsolete 65- and 85-pound rail with 112-pound rail, repairing bridges and culverts, and replacing broken and damaged ties."This is great news for the state and for growers and agribusiness in central South Dakota, and as promised, our farmer-owned cooperative will now move forward with our plans to build a first-class elevator and agronomy facility," Wheat Growers officials said.The South Dakota Legislature previously approved $7 million for the project, with an additional $7 million committed by the state's Railroad Board and more than $1 million pledged by private sources. SDDOT worked with the MRC Regional Rail Authority to pursue upgrades to the state-owned MRC line.
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