Energy suppliers say there’s plenty of liquid propane available for Iowans to heat their homes in the winter ahead. Deb Grooms, executive director of the Iowa Propane Gas Association, says a series of events last year led to a record spike in prices, but they also will mean a better plan this time around.
“Everybody was harvesting at the same time throughout the Midwest and then it got cold right away, so we didn’t have the build of propane up the terminals like we had,” Grooms says. “Few people expected they were going to have to dry corn because it had been a dry summer and it surprised them when they got into the fields and found out they were going to have to do a lot of drying.”
Farmers need to dry the grain before it’s stored so it doesn’t spoil. Grooms says that extra pressure on LP supplies last October caused a shortage for residential customers. Grooms says those residential customers were told to top off their tanks this summer.
She says farmers got the same advice from Ag Secretary Bill Northey. “He actually sent out a letter to the farm organizations back in July and was suggesting to them to make sure their propane supplies for grain drying and livestock facilities were full going into the fall season,” Grooms says.
Governor Branstad declared an energy disaster last fall when farmers throughout the Midwest used a record amount of the fuel to dry their corn so it could be properly stored. That depleted supplies for home owners who were forced to pay record high prices topping $5 a gallon.