Commentary

You can help improve Illinois wildlife habitat

Habitat enhancement can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it and is something that rural landowners, farmers and urban landowners can all take part in. The overwhelming part can be finding a good place to start, but luckily there is a plethora of programs and partners to support you. Technical […]

How powerful partnerships can tackle tough problems

In times when resources are scare, partnerships are the key to ­helping us achieve shared goals. During the recent Illinois state budget impasse, electric cooperatives played a critical role in ­helping the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) keep our Illinois State Parks open. You understood the ­economic value that parks bring to neigh­boring ­communities, […]

Power, politics, progress and the cooperative way

I grew up on a modest farm in deep southern Illinois with six ­siblings. I remember when I was five and a group of men came to set a meter pole. I remember that day in 1941 because those men ­threatened to throw me in the hole they were ­digging because I was being a nuisance. It […]

For our farms, freedom, food and jobs

In 2005, my wife Kristen and I were living in Las Vegas, Nev., and I was working for the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor. We were faced with the decision of where we wanted to raise our three young sons. The choice between ­central Illinois and Las Vegas was very easy. The next […]

Geothermal deserves tax credit parity

There’s a saying in the lobbying world: Be Persistent, Be Seen and Be Consistent. The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) recently returned to the capitol for the sixth time this year. GEO board members along with six members of our two advocacy teams ascended Capitol Hill in early June for 29 meetings with members of Congress. […]

Setting the record straight on pork production

As a fifth generation family farmer and proud owner of a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), I want to set the record straight on the often distorted views of my farm and other farms like mine. The term “CAFO” is often used to scare people into believing that these farms are bad. CAFO is a […]

Is $15 million enough?

On Feb. 29, 2012, tornadoes swept across the Midwest and an EF4 ­tornado leveled much of Harrisburg, Ill., killing eight people and causing millions in damages. Kentucky and Indiana received federal assistance but Illinois was denied. In the fall of 2013, a rare storm ­system ripped through Illinois ­uprooting trees, destroying homes, and devastating Gifford […]

Encouraging rural entrepreneurship

Rural communities in Illinois are confronted with a growing problem – or, rather, a shrinking one. Rural towns are shrinking and aging as college ­graduates move in pursuit of career oppor­tunities they believe do not exist in the corn and coal fields of their hometowns. This is a symptom of a larger, statewide problem: 6,000 […]

Leveraging the cooperative advantage

By Barbara Nick and Kenric Scheevel Friends and family have asked me why I came out of retirement from an Investor Owned Utility (IOU) to work at a G&T cooperative. I came to “Co-op Nation” because I am excited about the competitive advantage cooperatives have and wanted to put my leadership and experience to work […]

Facing the next big challenge: EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Electric cooperatives are no ­strangers to challenge. In fact, co-ops are quite adept at ­embracing change and making the most of it, as ­evidenced, for example, by co-ops’ leader­ship in advancing new tech­nologies to meet the changing needs of consumers and the electricity grid. The next big challenge is upon us. It takes the form […]