Used for everything from heating your home to drying grain, propane is important for South Dakotans. But it's in high demand this fall and suppliers are having a hard time getting enough of it here.
Farmers Union Co-op in the small town of Ferney is just one place that needs more propane. Customers are waiting for it. With high demand, so is the co-op.
"I've got guys asking me who've prepaid, 'what do we do? We've prepaid it.' I said, 'I wish I could help you. I've prepaid it too.' There's not a whole lot I can do," general manager Mike Schwingler said.
Corn is coming off the fields wet and grain dryers need propane. With cooler weather, people are starting to heat their homes while other uses for propane continue, too.
Acknowledging the need, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed an executive order allowing truck drivers delivering propane to work longer hours. Without the executive order, federal regulations would take effect once drivers hit the road. Those regulations limit their time to a 14 hour day with no more than 11 hours driving.
The governor also says companies can’t require or allow fatigued drivers to make deliveries.
Brick Transport in Aberdeen is a supplier for retailers who sell propane. It's having a hard time keeping up despite having a fleet of 15 trucks that pick up propane from refineries and pipelines in four states.
Terry Banker is the company’s traffic manager. He says the governor's action should help.
"It'll help out to some degree," Banker said. "You still have to let the driver, when he needs rest, he has to have rest."
But Banker says it'll give drivers the freedom to rest while sitting in line waiting to fill up on the high-demand propane and then drive all the way back home rather than stopping along the way once they reach 14 hours of work.
That won't fix all the problems, Banker says, but it should help those who need propane in the state from going without.
"We're just trying to work with it and get through it," Schwingler said.
The governor's executive order runs through November. Suppliers we spoke with said they expect the demand to decrease when harvest is finished.