Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued Executive Order 19-36 on Oct. 30, declaring an emergency and lifting hours of service regulations on propane and fuel trucks that are making delivering during this difficult harvest season.
Walz signed the order one day he and his administrative staff met a small group of farmers and agriculture leaders in East Grand Forks to discuss the weather-related crisis facing farmers in the region. Those present asked the governor to lift restrictions on drivers and carriers transporting propane and liquid fuels to provide direct assistance and alleviate the fuel shortage in the area.
Farmers reported that wet conditions have damaged crops, prevented harvesting, and slowed the processing and transportation of harvested goods, which has widespread economic concerns for farmers and the region. The high moisture content of the harvest has increased demand for propane used for drying, just as the agricultural livestock heating season and the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program began.
“This has been a stressful year for Minnesota farmers. The recent wet weather has only exacerbated these challenges to create the unprecedented crisis we now face, with crops sitting unharvested in soaked fields and truckloads of product that can’t be brought to market,” Walz said. “This executive order will help farms get the fuel they need, and our team will continue to look into actions we can take to support our agricultural industry through these catastrophic conditions.”
The Minnesota Feed and Grain Association also contacted Walz and ag commissioner Thom Petersen, urging an exemption of the hours of service rule for propane haulers.
Executive Order 19-36 is effective immediately under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 4.035, subdivision 2, and remains in effect for 30 days, or until the direct assistance has ended, whichever occurs first.