DOT Renews Propane Farm Cart Special Permit


Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2006) –  The Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recently granted the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) request to renew the farm cart special permit (SP-11209). The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) applauds the efforts of NPGA in securing this special permit as new mobile applications for propane in agriculture are emerging through research funded by PERC, the industry’s checkoff organization.  

The special permit allows farmers to continue the transport of propane for agricultural purposes in specific containers, commonly referred to as “farm carts.” This special permit ensures propane’s portability will not be an issue for farmers when considering the use of mobile propane-powered equipment on their operation. In recent years, PERC has funded research to develop several new mobile propane-powered innovations for the agriculture industry. The ability of farmers to conveniently refuel this propane equipment is critical to the success of these new technologies.

According to NPGA, the original exemption was granted in 1992, and the current special permit represents the eighth revision of that exemption. Also, because of recent changes in the federal regulations, NPGA was able to extend the effective period for SP-11209 from two years to the maximum period of four years. Therefore, the current farm cart special permit is not scheduled to expire until July 31, 2010.

“Granting of the maximum four-year extension of this special permit reflects the government’s confidence that the transportation of propane is safe, reliable, and critical to a number of production and processing applications in agriculture,” said NPGA Director of Regulatory and Technical Services Michael Caldarera. “A current copy of the special permit must be carried aboard each motor vehicle used to transport propane in the farm carts. In addition, a copy of the permit must be maintained at each facility where the farm carts are offered for transportation.”

Cargo tanks used to transport propane must have a minimum design pressure of 250 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) and a water capacity of 1,200 gallons or less, be securely mounted to a motor vehicle and painted a light-reflecting color. The tanks must meet the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code requirement at the time the tanks were manufactured, and conform to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) LP-Gas Code (NFPA 58).

Transportation is limited to movement between fields by the shortest practical distance on public roads. In addition, the tank cannot contain more than 5 percent of its water capacity during transportation between the point of use and a propane distribution facility.

“Many existing, new, and experimental applications for propane use in agriculture, such as flame and steam weed control, cotton defoliation, and other innovations, are mobile equipment, making the need for refueling in the field a necessity,” according to Mark Leitman, PERC director of agriculture programs. “This permit allows farmers to continue transporting clean-burning propane safely to the field where it will be used, similar to the way farmers transport other fuels.”

The special permit is for use by NPGA members. Members can download a copy of the permit by visiting and clicking on “Issue,” then “Regulatory Links and Information.” Non-NPGA members may also obtain and use the special permit, if they supply contact information for the NPGA to keep on record.  Non-NPGA members should contact Michael Caldarera at 202-466-7200 or for a copy.

PERC’s vision in agriculture is that by 2010, the agricultural industry will recognize propane as a preferred energy source offering exceptional value. This value is achieved through a unique combination of product benefits, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness.

For more information on PERC and its programs to promote the safe and efficient use of propane

in agriculture, call (202) 452-8975 or visit