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Propane shortage the latest challenge for farmers

Updated: November 04, 2019 07:08 PM

Jacob Sicheneder, 24, farms about 1,200 acres with his dad and brother near Maple Lake, Minnesota. They've got another two days before all the corn and soybeans will be out of the field.

They managed the wet spring and summer fine, but the cold fall weather has left the corn wetter than normal.

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"Corn in the field didn't dry out like we wanted it to, with cold temps it freeze-dried but we didn't get wind and heat like we wanted, or what we need to help dry it out," said Sicheneder.

That requires more drying time, which requires more propane. He's heard about the impact that's having on some farmers.

"They are shutting driers down, they can't get propane and can't do anything," he said.

Because of the weather, there are already allocations on propane, so many farmers are needing it and many are needing more to dry out wet crops.

Cold, wet weather making life tough on Minnesota farmers

"I didn't think it would be so soon going into this harvest we would have allocations set in place this early on, normally we get allocations later on, but there were allocations right at the beginning, just because the product wasn't there," said Howard Reinhard, with Centra Sota Cooperative in Buffalo.

Reinhard said instead of having trucks sit and wait at plants for 10 or 12 hours to get propane, he sent some of his crews out of state to get it.

"We've gone as far as Greenwood, Nebraska Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week to get product, that's 400 miless one way just to go get product," he said.

It adds cost, but is something the business picks up.

The Sicheneder family locked in their propane rate and amount, but there are questions about the impact this could have later in the winter season.

"The daily cost will go up, the people that didn't contract their propane, it will definitely go up for them, and same with farmers, too," said Reinhard.

But, he added, "We don't want people to have a panic, because we're not in panic mode, just having things happen sooner than normal."

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Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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