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January 28, 2014

Tight Propane Supplies Impact Agricultural Production

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Currently propane supplies are extremely tight across the United States. What does this mean for farmers and ranchers? Seanica Otterby has the story.
Otterby:There are several factors that have caused the current propane situation, according to American Farm Bureau Environment and Energy Policy Specialist Andrew Walmsley.
Walmsley:We had a pretty large harvest toward the end of last year, and it was relatively wet, and it drew down some propane supplies. During that same time, there was what the propane industry is calling infrastructure realignments, where we’ve seen some pipelines out of service along with some impacts to rail re-routing, too, for propane traveling by train. And then one of the other issues is propane exports are up quite a bit. Last year we saw about 20% of total U.S. propane was exported, and this is up from just 5% in 2008.
Otterby:Walmsley says relief from cold weather would be extremely helpful, especially for southern chicken growers.
Walmsley:Keeping those birds warmer are a concern, and we’ve seen a blast of arctic air just this week, so a little relief in the weather would be the most helpful.
Otterby:There has been some relief on the regulatory side.
Walmsley:Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has relieved some of the pressures on transporting propane in regard to hours of service, allowing drivers to work a little longer to make sure they can get deliveries out there.
Otterby:Walmsley says livestock producers especially will be impacted without relief soon.
Walmsley:Be able to keep those houses warm both for our swine and our poultry that are out there. Obviously the first concern is folks being able to keep their homes heated, but if this was a long-term impact, it would definitely have a negative impact on agricultural production.
Otterby:Walmsley says the most important thing is for consumers to stay in close contact with their propane supplier. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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