Local farmer becomes resourceful during propane shortage

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – While the region is in a propane shortage, some farmers have double the worries. They are wondering how to heat their homes and their businesses.

Tippecanoe County farmer AJ Booher wanted to be ahead of the cold snap. So, two weeks ago he called his propane supplier for a refill.

“He said ‘we are not actually supposed to fill anything other than residences. So, we aren’t supposed to fill farm shops or live stock buildings,’” Booher said.

This was the first Booher had heard about the region’s propane shortage. Then, Booher started thinking of ways he could keep his family warm at home, and his workers comfortable on the farm.

First, he dipped into 1,500 gallons of propane he has left over from the harvest.

“What they [the propane supplier] said he could do is come and pump the LP gas out of our dryer gas tank, so what was left over from the fall, and move it over to our shop and our home,” Booher said.

Next, when Booher found out he needed to be resourceful, it did not take long for him to find help from the exact product he farms. He added two corn stoves to his buildings.

“The boiler which provides our floor heating in here won’t kick on until 50 degrees,” Booher said. “Our corn stove has it at 54 degrees in here.”

Booher said the corn stove can hold enough corn to burn for 36 hours straight. He has had a corn stove in his home for years, but this winter he added one to each of his farm buildings.

Since adding them he has hardly had to use his propane boiler, and is saving money.

“LP might be going for $4 or $5 a gallon, and with BTU’s making it equivalent to a bushel of corn it would make it about $12 to $15 a bushel,” Booher said. “Well, our corn that we are selling we are getting a little over $4 a bushel.”

Booher said a bushel of corn has about three times the BTUs as a gallon of propane.

He’s surprised he did not think of the corn stove earlier. He said when propane prices are up he will burn corn, and when corn prices spike, like they did last year, he will turn on the boiler.

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