The former I-and-M Railroad is now under the management of a South Dakota company that’s gotten the go-ahead to buy and run it. Dakota Minnesota and Eastern railroad C-E-O Kevin Schieffer says there are still two railroads on paper, or three counting the Iowa-Chicago-and-Eastern holding company that runs it all. He says the regulatory process requires the federal government’s blessing before they can all be run as a single entity. Schieffer says the acquisition gives grain shippers access to valuable terminals in Chicago, Kansas City and the Twin Cities. He says there are more competitive options now, like the ability to take grain from South Dakota right to Iowa processors for the first time. He says they can ship right to the major rail gateways of Chicago and Kansas City, a major breakthrough for ag producers. A report by the USDA’s agricultural marketing service says the railroad merger has the potential to significantly reshape the competitive dynamics for grain shipped by the two railroads. Before the deal, DM-and-E could only interchange with three other railroads. Now it will have thirty interchange points, and contact with every major railroad in the U.S. Based on 2000 estimates, the railroad will carry 75-thousand carloads of farm products and 37-thousand carloads of food and other products.