Farm Progress

Farmers are being advised to prepare for winter and communicate with their propane distributor about their needs.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

September 28, 2017

2 Min Read
FILL TANK EARLY: "It's always a good idea to fill your tank early," says Cinch Munson, with the Propane Education and Research Council.

America is the leading producer of propane, and more than enough propane is being produced to meet domestic demand. That's what Cinch Munson, Propane Education and Research Council director of agriculture business development, told Nebraska Farmer when we caught up with him at Husker Harvest Days recently.

"Propane companies and others have made significant investments in energy transportation and storage to meet the ever increasing needs of consumers," Munson said. "Nevertheless, some risk factors remain, and that's why propane companies work diligently with their customers to make sure everyone has the propane they need when they need it."

Fuel prices often fluctuate based on demand and seasonality, Munson explained. "We are advising farmers, as we always do, to fill their propane tanks early and to be prepared for high demand," he said. He noted that the industry as a whole, as well as producers, have invested heavily in recent years in storage and transportation infrastructure related to propane. "But it's just a good idea to always fill up tanks early for better pricing, especially since weather can cause distribution issues at times," he said. "Plus, be sure to communicate about your needs with your distributor."

Propane use on the farm and in varied uses continues to increase. Irrigation especially, has benefited from high-technology engines with improved power and efficiency. PERC has assisted about 100 to 150 farmers nationally over the past year in converting systems to propane through the organization's popular Propane Farm Incentive Program. Through this 6-year-old program, farmers can gain in excess of $5,000 in incentives on new propane-powered equipment, such as irrigation engines, grain dryers, livestock heating systems and propane flame weed control units.

"A high percentage of those farmers who have gained financial incentives are in Nebraska, because of irrigation engines," Munson said. "The reason they are switching to propane is because of its efficiency, reliability and power," he said. "It is interesting to note that the high-tech propane engines being developed now are actually simpler than other models, because manufacturers know that having low-maintenance equipment is important to producers."

As part of the incentive program, producers provide some data and information about their equipment to PERC. This information helps the organization in research and development of new propane-powered equipment and in helping manufacturers make improvements, especially in efficiency, to their product lines.

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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