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U.S. ag faces propane shortage

U.S. ag faces propane shortage

Multiple governors have eased rules on propane transport to help growers

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Commercial elevators and U.S. farmers with on-farm grain storage may find it challenging to dry this year’s crops.

A late harvest and cool weather have led to a spike in propane demand, but suppliers are having difficulty fulfilling delivery requests.

“Since last Thursday, they brought out a couple deliveries, but only half of what we would normally be getting,” Dennis Friest, a farmer from Hardin County, Iowa, told WHOTV on Thursday. “After today, we are going to have to quit drying corn.”

The residential price for propane is sitting at US$1.89 per gallon, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

The shortage prompted the governors from Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin to sign a regional emergency declaration to ease some regulations on propane transportation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Midwestern Service Center and Western Service Center issued the declaration, which expires at the end of the month.

The declaration allows transport drivers to extend delivery hours to cross state lines to return with propane.

“We’ve gone as far as Greenwood, Neb. (last) Friday, Saturday and Sunday (last) week to get product,” Howard Reinhard, energy general manager with Centra Sota Cooperative in Buffalo, Minn., told KSTP on Monday. “That’s 400 miles one way just to go get product.”

Once the propane gets back to a state, however, grain farmers could be waiting further for their deliveries.

In Iowa, for example, it’s law that homes and livestock facilities receive propane deliveries first.

Farms.com has reached out to farmers and propane suppliers for comment.

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