Ag News

Propane Shortages Still Causing Headaches Around Iowa

IABRN — We have known about the propane frustrations farmers have been having this fall. A wet fall compounded on a wet spring and a late plant has farmers drying the harvests from levels they never have before. Farmers were trying to leave crops in the field as long as possible to avoid drying. However, Mother Nature and has made drying conditions all but nonexistent, and father time keeps flipping the calendar.

Elevators are trying to keep up with demand. These cooperatives base their orders on the pre-booking of producers, but nobody could have anticipated the demand we would have. Elevators and even distributors don’t have the endless storage capacity to hold propane indefinitely, and the demand is not just being affected by grain dryers. The same cold and wet weather which has forced farmers to rely on their dryers, has also forced residents to turn on their furnaces sooner than planned.

The government has tried to do what it can to alleviate the situation. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds suspended trucking rules of service to allow propane haulers more time to get the fuel moved throughout the state, if they aren’t putting themselves or other drivers in danger.

On the Federal level, Iowa Senators Grassley and Ernst are calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prioritize propane shipments to Iowa. There is not a lot which the government can do, because this happens to be a matter of product distribution in the private commercial sector. A copy of a letter the Senators sent to FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee can be found here.

During the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City, I had the chance to talk with Mike Newland of the Propane Education & Research Council. Newland says, “Unfortunately, we knew it was coming.”

For the complete article from the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network CLICK HERE