State propane associations explore new partnerships

August 9, 2021 By    

Editor’s note: The 2021 Mid-States Propane Expo has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns in Missouri. LP Gas printed this article in its July issue before the cancellation announcement.

The Mid-States Propane Expo leads the pack of in-person trade shows returning to the industry calendar this year, as it takes center stage July 26-29 in Branson, Missouri.

Four of the five states co-hosting the show – Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma – comprise LP Gas’ Propane Fuels America series this month. And early indications are that industry members are ready to return to in-person events, as well.

“We’ve seen a huge interest in attendance and have sold out of the room block twice,” reports Steve Ahrens, the president and CEO of the Missouri Propane Gas Association.

For the first time, Mid-States has become a five-state event as the hosts welcome Illinois this year. The week’s schedule includes the trade show, meetings and seminars but also provides attendees with plenty of social activities.

Missouri and Illinois used to have a joint spring board meeting that alternated sites each year, Ahrens explains, and both states were also original founders of the former Midwest Propane Expo in Indianapolis.

“Based on that history, we thought there was good reason to invite Illinois to become part of the Mid-States event,” he says.

From an administrative standpoint, Missouri continues to explore opportunities to share and consolidate efforts with neighboring states in association and Propane Education & Research Council-type programs.

“We have joined with our neighbors for several combined efforts, such as the Mid-States Propane Expo, and the benefits of a regional association seem to be attractive,” Ahrens says.

He notes how a combined effort could aid individual processes like dues billing, hiring training staff and fulfilling rebate programs, for example.

“In theory, each state would retain any state-derived checkoff income, and there would be a need to support governmental affairs representation, but combining current resources, reducing duplicate efforts and sharing resources seems to have some interest,” he adds.

Ahrens knows a regional setup would likely require more structure than is currently in place. He was hoping to discuss the idea further with other state representatives at the Mid-States show.

Map image: Kolonko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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