High heating costs are leading some people in the Midwest to turn toDepression-era tactics to keep warm. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’sLester Graham reports:
High heating costs are leading some people in the Midwest to turn to
Depression-era tactics to keep warm. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Lester Graham reports:
During the Depression corn prices were low and few farmers could afford the
cost of coal. So many ended up burning the grain for heat. Paul Bertels is
with the National Corn Growers Association. He says the circumstances are
similar enough today that corn is being burned again.
“Corn prices are relatively low. There’s an abundance of
it. And, you know, fuel prices, particularly natural gas and propane are
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported a company that builds
especially efficint corn-burning stoves saw sales jump 500-percent since
last august. But Bertels says burning corn is not for everyone.
“If you had a machine shed or workshop or something like
that and you had a grain bin right next to it, it would probably pencil out.
but, I don’t see a large migration to corn stoves for heatin’ houses and
office buildings and things like that.”
Pound for pound burning corn creates almost as much heat as burning coal.
However, corn prices are not expected to stay low. So the cheaper renewable
fuel might not stay cheap for long. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.