US Senator Al Franken was in Winthrop Friday morning to discuss the propane shortage of this past winter. Over 50 ag officials, co-op leaders, and area farmers were on hand to talk about possible solutions to the issue in the future, including constructing more storage facilities. Senator Franken cited pipeline disruptions, rail service interuptions due to severe weather, and a lack of regularity in propane markets as some of the causes of the shortage. Many of those on hand for the meeting stressed the need for infrastructure improvements to deal with possible future propane issues. Another possible solution discussed with Senator Franken was to retrofit grain dryers and homes for increased energy efficiency, which could reportedly create energy savings of around 30%. Franken also discussed hiring veterans onto the propane trucking fleet to increase distribution capabilities. The US Senate Energy Committee held a hearing on the propane shortage issue last week as well.