Minnesota farmers and elevators face propane shortages

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 9:24 AM CST
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Some farmers and elevators across the midwest are battling propane shortages that are affecting the already tough farming season this year.

"Right now, we are able to get propane," Robert Wiertzema, Rushmore, MN Cooperative Farmers Elevator manager, said. "We're able to dry. About a week ago, we were struggling to keep propane."

According to Wiertzema, depending on the moisture of the corn, the Rushmore elevator uses 2,800 to 3,000 gallons of propane a day to dry the crop down. And without that precious fuel source, it really slows up the harvest process.

"We just not able to get through it as fast," he said. "Right now, so far, what helps is we have other locations in our company that have natural gas driers. So, one day, when we were getting towards full, not having propane, we moved corn to different locations that we're able to dry and help us out."

Ryan Hoftyzer farms just north of Rushmore and is now done with this year's harvest. But, without propane, his operation was at a standstill for a few days.

"Basically, it's slowed down my operation when you can't get the propane you're kind of dealt with what you're given," Hoftyzer said. "When you're out, you have to stop, and you're kind of at the mercy of the supplier until it comes back in again.

Hoftyzer says he is already looking forward to a better season next year.

The state of Minnesota is one of eight states that declared emergencies because of the shortage of propane.