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Cold temperatures and a late corn harvest has increased the demand for propane across Wisconsin spurring Gov. Tony Evers to sign an executive order declaring an energy emergency.

“Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites depend on propane to heat their homes and right now farmers are depending on it to dry their corn,” said Gov. Evers. “Ensuring that we get propane to these folks is critical for the health, safety, welfare, and economic well-being of Wisconsinites across our state.”

With the corn harvest more than two weeks behind schedule thanks to wet weather in spring and now again in fall, farmers are dependent on propane-powered grain drying to reduce moisture levels in the corn crop. 

In early September, the Propane Education & Research Council urged ag producers to fill propane tanks early in preparation for higher propane demand this fall from later harvests and increased grain drying needs.

“We typically see an increase in propane demand due to harvest and then months later due to winter needs for ag and home heating,” says Mike Newland, director of agriculture business development at PERC. “This year, we expect these events to be closer together than usual, creating higher propane demand at one time. Producers can ensure they have the propane they need to power their farms throughout fall and winter by planning ahead and taking advantage of savings by filling tanks early.”

Getting propane to the Midwest in a timely manner has been a struggle due to the ONEOK propane pipeline experiencing outages. Deliveries to its customers in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota are nearly two weeks behind.

The pipeline outage has also impacted propane supplies in Wisconsin with terminals being flooded with out-of-state demands from its neighboring states. Those trying to deliver propane to customers are finding long wait times at terminals as a result of the shortage.

According to Evers, about 250,000 Wisconsinites depend on propane for home heating. The emergency declaration will allow the waiver of hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles obtaining and transporting propane.

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