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WHEDA Announces Loan Program to Address Propane Shortage
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/31/2014

In response to Governor Scott Walker's declaration of a State of Emergency due to Wisconsin's propane shortage, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has established a $3 million loan guarantee program. WHEDA will provide loan guarantees to banks of 50-percent of a total loan for dealers to purchase propane, but not to exceed a $50,000 guarantee amount for a term of one year.

"Governor Walker has called upon state agencies to assist in the protection of our citizens during this fuel shortage," said WHEDA Director Wyman Winston. "WHEDA is pleased to implement a new loan guarantee program to provide financing to dealers to quickly purchase propane so homeowners can continue to heat their homes during this rough winter."

Qualifying propane dealers must be in business for at least 12 months and will be required to complete a simple compliance application through a participating WHEDA lender to access the loan guarantee. WHEDA's Propane Guarantee Program will be effective until December 31, 2014.

Propane prices have jumped from about $1 dollar a gallon to nearly $6 dollars a gallon during the month. The jump in prices is being blamed on a severe shortage of propane caused by the wet fall resulting in feed farmers using unexpectedly high amounts of propane to dry crops. The unseasonably cold winter has also increased the demand for propane from homeowners. And more propane was exported this year because of increases in international demand.

"This is one of the most brutal winters Wisconsin has faced in many years," said Winston. "Propane dealers forced to pay much higher prices are confronted with a cash shortage and desperately need financing."

Small businesses that require propane may be eligible for assistance for fuel and other business-related needs under WHEDA's Small Business Guarantee Program.

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