WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTWO/WAWV) — A late harvest coupled with early winter weather has caused a shortage of propane across the Midwest.
To help alleviate the situation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued a Regional Emergency Declaration, which will make it easier to transport and deliver propane to the affected areas.
Illinois and Indiana are among seven states to receive the declaration.
“Farmers are struggling to dry high moisture grain caused by wet weather and delayed harvest,” said John Sullivan, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “Propane is an essential fuel for corn dryers in Illinois and across the Midwest. (The year) 2019 has already been a stressful growing and harvest season for farmers. Governor Pritzker, as well as the Illinois Propane Gas Association have made sure we have the resources to help farmers with this declaration.”
Many farmers are still struggling to finish harvesting crops, according to Illinois Sen. Dale Righter. He said the most recent report from the United States Department of Agriculture indicated the corn harvest in Illinois is only 80 percent complete, compared to a five-year-average of 97 percent by this time. Soybeans are only 92 percent harvested, which also trails the five-year-average of 98 percent.
Those who use propane and fuel oil to heat their homes also are at risk in a shortage, particularly with the early onset of winter temperatures. November is winter preparedness month and there is no better time than now to prepare your home for the upcoming winter months.
“Being unprepared for winter weather is not just inconvenient, it can be dangerous,” said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Acting Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “In Illinois, there are more fatalities related to cold temperatures than heat, tornadoes and floods combined. We encourage everyone to prepare for winter today by adding a winter survival kit to your car, changing your furnace filter at home and stocking your family’s emergency supply kit.”
Other states that are affected by the emergency declaration include: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.