Commentary

Agriculture – Illinois’ number one industry

Greetings! As the warm summer months are now ahead of us, the Department of Agriculture would like to take a moment to update you of some important agricultural messages. Farm Progress Show In what many in the agriculture industry refer to as the World’s Fair of Agriculture, the Farm Progress Show is the nation’s largest […]

Concluding thoughts as I ride off into the sunset

Do you remember the movie “Cool Hand Luke?” It’s that great Paul Newman prison movie with the famous line from Strother Martin, the prison warden, who says, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” You could take just about any ­problem involving humans and stick that into the conversation somewhere. It is a […]

Celebrating Our Month (and Milk!)

It’s been going on for 75 years. June Dairy Month, that is. And as a dairy farmer, I kind of like the idea that we celebrate what my ­family and 600 more like it across Illinois do, and what we provide to people. It’s milk, of course, and all the ­wonderful things it can become – […]

Illinois Made Highlights State’s Faces of Travel

Travel and tourism plays a huge role in every economy—from hotels to dining, tours to attractions—­tourism helps drive tax dollars down and ­provides numerous jobs for ­people across the state. In 2015, Illinois welcomed more than 111.1 million visitors, which generated more than $37.2 billion in travel expenditures for the state. This in turn helped […]

NRECA CEO Jim Mattheson

There is no time like now

This is an excerpt from the speech given by NRECA CEO Jim Matheson at the NRECA 75th Annual Meeting. It’s said that wisdom has a thousand fathers, and I‘ve had many ­teachers throughout the co-op ­community. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is special because we ­benefit first and foremost from a membership that […]

Youth Leadership Council Representative Sophie Marcolla

Youth Leadership Counsel delegate says look within and find your greatness

In the United States, we have encountered many tragedies in the past several years including 9-11, church and school shootings, acts of terror at the Boston Marathon and the Orlando nightclub, storms, flooding, and hurricanes in the south and along our coastlines, and ­violence against police officers in Texas. We have witnessed both the good […]

Fixing Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation formula for school funding

Online ­crowdfunding websites are more than ­simple fund-raising tools. They are story-telling sites. Among the tales you’ll find there are those of Illinois teachers who work in school districts that can barely afford to provide the basics for their classrooms, let alone such frivolities as tablet computers, money for music or science education, flexible seating […]

Manufacturing a middle class in Illinois once again

Illinois manufacturers are ­leaders in technology and innovation with nearly 20,000 companies and facilities that call this state home. Industry-leading advancements from farm machinery to fighter plane ­controls have resulted in an industry of ­forward-thinking ­companies that contribute the single largest share – 12.4 percent – of the Gross State Product and employ approximately 565,000 […]

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, […]