Freight Rail a Gateway to U.S. and Global Markets for Mount Rushmore State
For South Dakota grain, ethanol and other agricultural producers, freight rail provides the primary means of reaching export markets around the nation and across the globe. With demand for rail transportation only expected to increase, record railroad investments in track, equipment and technology are good news for South Dakota agriculture.
South Dakota's 10 freight railroads operate over 1,822 miles of track and employ 776 in the Mount Rushmore State.* It would have taken approximately 6.3 million additional truckloads to move the 113.5 million tons of freight that moved by rail in South Dakota in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 1.46 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 287,000 cars off the road or planting 22.2 million trees. Farm products make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in South Dakota.