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Mike Newland talks at Husker Harvest Days about PERC’s efforts to help flooded farmers while standing infront of propane equipment
PROPANE RESEARCH: Mike Newland, PERC director of agriculture business development, spoke at Husker Harvest Days about PERC’s efforts to help farmers affected by flooding.

Additional propane incentives offered after flooding

Extra funding is available to producers operating in zip codes that were most affected by weather events.

There is help available for farmers affected by flooding who are considering upgrading propane equipment on the farm. The popular, 8-year-old Propane Farm Incentive Program, administered through the Propane Education and Research Council, has assisted hundreds of farmers each year in converting systems to propane around the farm and ranch.

This year, because of extreme flood events across the upper Midwest and Great Plains — as well as devastation last fall from Hurricane Michael in the South — PFIP funding could be doubled from the normal $5,000 cap. The incentives program can fund select systems such as irrigation systems, water and building heating systems, and propane flame weed control units, as examples.

“Our industry recognizes all the flooding that has happened, and the producers and propane marketers who have been impacted across the agriculture community,” said Mike Newland, PERC director of agriculture business development, during an interview at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., in September. “We wanted to help those who got flooded out and have to rebuild by doubling the normal incentive.”

The extra flood incentives are available to producers operating in specific zip codes that were most affected by weather events.

“To apply, producers will have to go to our website — — and go through the application process,” Newland said. “If their zip code matches up to our criteria, their incentives will automatically be doubled up to $10,000.”

For producers, it is the same basic program, applicable to qualifying equipment or system upgrades.

“We are trying to incentivize new technologies especially through this program,” Newland said. “Participation in PFIP has been steady. It has been a great tool, and it is something that we are always looking at and evaluating.”

Newland said that propane supplies going into late fall and winter are as good as they’ve been in a while. “We’re also tracking crop moisture content across the Corn Belt, so we know that harvest could be drawn out this year,” Newland said. “We are encouraging producers to have a candid conversation with their propane marketers about their propane needs, the acres they cover, expected bushels and expected drying needs.”

Newland said that supplies won’t be the issue this season. If colder-than-normal weather sets in earlier than usual, grain drying season could bump into home heating season. That could strain transportation and logistics in getting propane supplies where they need to be on time.

“We have encouraged producers to take as much propane as they can store early on to help out their marketers,” Newland said. Keeping communication open between producers and marketers will help marketers plan for delivery.

As always, PERC continues to work on new innovations and efficiencies. Newland mentioned new technologies that are developing that could be useful for agriculture in other regions, including soil steaming for strawberry production, as well as companies looking into propane heating of soils to disrupt the life cycles of pathogens and insects in vegetable crops and grapes.

Weed flaming equipment that is now commercially available was supported by PERC in the early stages. “Now, organic farmers and even farmers outside the organic industry are using weed flaming equipment for weed control,” Newland said.

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