Dean Kaesebier, general manager of the LaPorte County Farm Bureau Co-op Association, made the pitch to the commissioners on behalf of farmers in Porter, LaPorte and Starke counties who would be affected by the potential abandonment of a 33-mile stretch of CSX train track.
The association is attempting to buy the track through a combination of state, federal and local funding sources.Support on the local level is needed in order to demonstrate to state and federal agencies that there is a desire to maintain the rail service, Kaesebier
said.According to Kaesebier, officials in Starke County already have committed $50,000 toward the effort.
There are indications the effort will be supported in LaPorte County as well, he
With a number of local farmers present, Kaesebier
and other supporters detailed to the commissioners the financial implications should the rail line cease operations, forcing farmers to rely on trucks instead.
Farmers could face increases of about 10 cents per bushel on exported crops currently transported by rail from Malden.Costs to bring an estimated 4,000 tons of fertilizer to the farmers could increase by roughly $7 per ton without the train service.
"This is very important to the producers in this area," Kaesebier