Farmers need to help other farmers during propane crisis
The Indiana State Climate Office has predicted that the bitterly cold temperatures and frequent snow showers the state has experienced over the past two months will continue through February.
“There's really no relief in sight,” Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, said in a Purdue news release. “We’re in for a true Indiana winter – like the ones we old folks remember from our youth.”
The cold weather as well as the hazardous condition of many rural roads could exacerbate an already difficult situation for those who rely on propane to heat their homes and their barns.
“Hoosiers continue to face severe propane shortages and unprecedented winter weather, with no relief from either in sight,” said Gov. Mike Pence during a Feb. 4 news conference. Indiana “now encourages the federal government to take every possible action to relieve the supply shortages and ensure families, farmers, and business owners can heat their homes, barns, and businesses,” Pence added.
Pence has joined governors from the Midwestern Governors Association in signing a letter to President Barack Obama requesting immediate assistance to address the current propane supply shortage across the Midwest.
Pence joined fellow governors from the Midwestern Governors Association - Terry Branstad of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Mark Dayton of Minnesota and John Kasich of Ohio – in signing the letter. It asks the administration, including the U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Association, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and any other relevant agencies, to take any possible steps to increase propane supplies through any means of transport.
Indiana Farm Bureau, the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association are encouraging their members to do what farmers have always done in times of trouble: Reach out across the fencerow and help out a neighbor.
Grain farmers who use propane for grain drying are urged to check their tanks for any residual fuel. If there is propane left from last fall’s drying season, they are encouraged to contact their neighbors with livestock barns to see if they are in need.
Hoosiers who have a surplus and wish to provide assistance can also contact their local propane supplier.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture also has communicated with the commercial grain industry, asking for a recheck on stocks that might be available for resale.
To assist propane suppliers in meeting the needs of Hoosiers, Pence has repeatedly extended an emergency proclamation to waive propane transport statutes. The latest extension is in effect until March 1.
Nearly 10 percent of Indiana residents use propane for residential heating, Pence noted.