Propane shortage raises concern for some Heartland farmers

Delayed propane <font size="2">deliveries are affecting some Iowa farmers.</font>

Farmers use propane for drying wet crops, but delayed deliveries of the gas in parts of Iowa and across the Midwest are driving up the cost of corn of this yearâ??s harvest.

â??For the last two or three weeks, the whole Upper Midwest has been harvesting corn and because of the wet spring, crop was planted later, and then we had a really dry summer and then it rained again in the fall, so people were waiting for their crop to dry, and it's getting to the time of year where they have to get the crop out of the field, and so they will be using propane to dry their corn,â?? said Deb Grooms, Iowa Propane Gas Association's executive director.

Clark Yeager, a farmer near Ottumwa, says the shortage hasnâ??t been an issue for him, but he bought most of his propane back in August and finished harvesting his crops roughly two weeks ago. â??I talked to my distributor today to see what was going on and they said they hadn't had any trouble getting LP, but that there were some lines when they would go to the terminals around here and there were trucks from as far away as South Dakota trying to get LP from southeast Iowa so that's quite a little haul."

Farmers and marketers in the upper Midwest are affected by the shortage because there's only so much propane that can go up the pipeline at one time.

â??The way I understand it, northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and South Dakota are the ones having the LP shortages,â?? Yeager said.

Gov. Terry Branstad extended an executive order, which increases the hours delivery drivers can transport propane.

â??Everybody's working together on this to solve this,â?? Groom said. â??We're working very closely with the Department of Agriculture here in Iowa, and the governor's office to get this taken care of.â??

Some experts say that locally-grown food could potentially be impacted by the shortage, but Yeager believes people in southeast Iowa have nothing to worry about.

If you do have any issues regarding propane delivery delays, contact your propane marketer.