What does the future of propane in agriculture look like, and what is new with propane-powered farm equipment in 2019? The Propane Education & Research Council’s new Director of Agriculture Business Development, Mike Newland, discusses this and much more in the following question and answer session. Read on for more information about new propane-powered equipment, the future of propane, and the many benefits clean, American-made propane offers farmers.
Q: What can the agricultural community expect to see from the propane industry in 2019?
A: The Propane Education & Research Council is working with several equipment manufacturers to develop new propane-powered agricultural equipment – some of which will be released in 2019. Working directly with manufacturers is part of our ongoing efforts to meet the changing needs of today’s farmers. In 2019, producers can expect to see a growing list of propane-powered equipment available in a variety of sizes and from manufacturers across the nation.
Q: Why choose propane over other fuel options?
A: Propane has numerous benefits over other fuel sources. In addition to its overall efficiency and cost savings, propane is naturally cleaner burning, which offers numerous environmental benefits and reduced emissions. This helps farmers easily meet the growing demands for CARB certification, Tier 4 compliancy, and EPA regulations, while reducing maintenance needs for cost and time savings as well. In addition, propane can be used anywhere, without having to rely on the location of a natural gas line, run a new electric line, or deal with peak electricity rates. With propane, you can run equipment wherever you need it and whenever you need it, as you do not have to rely on the grid or risk power outages.
Q: How can farmers interested in purchasing a new irrigation engine get the best savings?
A: In addition to savings on the upfront costs of new propane engines compared to similar diesel engines, PERC encourages farmers to take advantage of its Propane Farm Incentive Program, which offers up to $5,000 in incentives toward the purchase of a new engine. Combining these savings on upfront costs with long-term cost reductions associated with running their engines on propane, farmers can get the best savings overall. More information about qualifying equipment and an online application can be found at www.propane.com/farmincentive.
Q: What about producers who are not in the market for a new engine but interested in the use of propane?
A: Producers who want to continue to use engines they currently own, but are interested in experiencing the benefits of propane, should consider dual-fuel systems. These systems make it possible to operate existing engines on a combination of diesel and propane. This reduces emissions and offers the added benefits of propane use without the need to purchase a new engine.
Q: What types of equipment can producers use propane for on their farms?
A: Most people are aware of propane’s use for grain drying, heating, and irrigation engines, but propane can be used for so many more applications on and around the farm – including propane-powered flame weeding systems, both building and water heating systems, standby generators, forklifts, mowers, trucks, vehicles, and more. Propane is an extremely versatile fuel for the farm.
Q: What does propane supply look like in 2019?
A: Because propane is made in America, primarily from domestic natural gas, supply is abundant. The United States is a net exporter of propane so we will continue to produce more than we need, offering more than enough supply for our farmers.
Q: What do you expect propane prices to look like in 2019?
A: While it’s impossible to predict exactly what those costs will be as it varies by location and throughout the year, this abundance in supply means we will not be running out and risking higher prices due to a shortage. We recommend contacting your local propane provider and asking about propane fuel contracts to take advantage of low prices throughout the year. With these contracts, farmers can lock in local propane prices at their lowest point (typically in the summer months) and fill their tanks to ensure propane is available when they need it while avoiding the risk of any cost increases or fluctuations throughout the year.
Q: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about the use of propane on the farm that you’d like to clear up?
A: Because propane has been used in agriculture for decades, some farmers think of propane as the fuel their father or grandfather used to power equipment, which wasn’t nearly as effective as it is now. Today’s propane-powered equipment is built from the ground up to run on propane and utilizes new technology to make it extremely efficient, with numerous advantages over equipment of the past. New propane-powered equipment offers optimal power and efficiency while easily meeting and exceeding environmental standards, and new technology advances continue to improve equipment powered by propane. In fact, many are now referring to propane as the “farm fuel of the future.”
Q: Where can producers go to learn more about propane for agriculture?
A: For more information about propane use on the farm and the many types of propane-powered farm equipment available, visit www.propane.com/agriculture. For more information about the Propane Farm Incentive Program, qualifying equipment, and an online application, visit www.propane.com/farmincentive.