ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz declared an emergency on Wednesday night, Oct. 30, to help farmers in western Minnesota by lifting regulations on trucks and drivers delivering propane and liquid fuels.
Walz said when he met with about 50 farmers and agricultural leaders in East Grand Forks on Tuesday that they asked him to help as they were facing a fuel shortage in the area.
Farmers told him that wet conditions damaged crops, prevented harvesting and slowed the processing and transportation of harvested crops. The high moisture content of the crops has increased demand for propane used for drying just as the livestock heating season began as well as the needs created by the Minnesota Energy Assistance program.
The executive order allows extended hours for drivers providing direct assistance to farmers and suppliers to transport propane, diesel fuel, gasoline or fuel oil to those in the western part of the state.
Walz said that drivers are experiencing unusually long wait times at terminals with some suppliers reporting a decrease in the availability of products, requiring drivers to travel farther distances to obtain product for marketers and farmers.
The governor said the 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."
He said there are crops sitting unharvested in soaked fields and truckloads of products that can't be brought to market.
The order remains in effect for 30 days or until direct assistance has ended.