Chicken farmers struggle with propane shortage - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Chicken farmers struggle with propane shortage

Bump up the heat and pay more on your next energy bill. It's not an option for many Mississippi farmers.

"These tanks don't last long right now in these situations," said chicken farmer Stanley Williams as he walked around his farm. "See right now this one's only a little over 40 percent and I filled up last week."

Williams has ten chicken houses. He orders his propane ahead of time based on how much he used the year before.

"Basically we're on gallons and with this cold winter we've had, our gallons is running out what we lock in or pay the future market on," said Williams.

When he gets to the end of his pre-order, he'll have to pay the new market price.

"I paid a little over $50,000 dollars for propane last year and this year I'm looking at 75 plus easy," Williams explained.

The higher prices are the result of a nationwide propane shortage.

"We've got a lot of folks from the Midwest and East Coast that's coming down South trying to get propane which is making our shortage even worse," said Williams.

It's not a resource that chicken farmers can afford to do without.

"People don't understand when the baby chick comes in, the day they are hatched or processed and all, we've got to have these house temperatures over 90 degrees," described Williams. "When you look at outside 10 degrees, it takes a lot of propane to keep these houses warm."

If they run out of propane, the chickens won't survive, and they're livelihood will be on the line.

"You know, you're looking in advance that you're gonna be running out of money here shortly with the price of propane going up," explained Williams.

One propane company changed it's deliveries in Mississippi recently. Farmers contracted with United Propane Gas say the company began restricting delivery amounts and then suspended commercial deliveries.

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