Hitting the trail for Wounded Warriors

I am a part-time pharmacist at Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy in Decatur. The owner Dale and I met at a fundraiser a few years before he invited me to work a Saturday for him, and now I’m fortunate to be the regular weekend pharmacist. I’m lucky to have a job, but luckier to be ­associated with Dale and his family.To say ...Read More

Cooperatives prepared for the long term

A year ago I wrote that we were seeing historic lows for the electricity commodity and that they couldn’t last forever. Predicting prices would rise wasn’t tough. The question was how much and how fast? We’re already seeing some early signs of price instability and rising rates. We are also seeing drastic cuts to base load capacity due to generation ...Read More

Creating entrepreneur opportunities in hometowns

I’ve been involved in education for a long time, and I’ve worked with kids from all over the United States. There is an unfortunate viewpoint that many young people share: opportunity is something that exists elsewhere. We all worry about that, don’t we? We worry that, after our kids grow up and leave, our towns will age and eventually wither ...Read More

Counting your blessings

I consider myself very blessed to have been born and raised on a family farm in south-central Illinois. My parents made sure my upbringing emphasized hard work, the value of a dollar, community involvement and faith in God. In all honesty, there were many times as a boy and young man when I wished for an “easier” upbringing, but looking ...Read More

Survival requires an adequate food supply

“Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply. Without fertilizer, forget it.” These are the words of Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the father of the “green revolution” for ­developing disease resistant wheat varieties that saved millions from starvation. Dr. Borlaug is only one of seven people to have won the ...Read More


Shaping enthusiasm for public service

I can clearly remember the first time that I visited the Lincoln Memorial, and how the marble seemed to soften the sting of the sweltering heat. Monuments, and the history they ­represent, can make an indelible impression on an individual. While almost twenty years have passed since I participated in the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ Youth Day in Springfield ...Read More


The importance of being prudent

The word “prudent” sounds a bit old fashioned and stodgy. It’s defined as being wise in the handling of practical matters, or as exercising good judgment or common sense. The phrase “prudent utility ­practice” is a term of art in our industry. It generally refers to the actions a ­utility is expected to make, as a matter of course, to ...Read More

Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative’s first office was located in downtown Divernon and remained there until 1954. Some of the co-op’s first employees gathered for this photo. From left are Charles Masters, project superintendent, Elizabeth Roncz, secretary, Manford White, bookkeeper, Virgil Brown, lineman, Bud Wilson, foreman and Eric Dossett, lineman.

Learning from our history

If you’re a teenager, seventy-five years seems like an eternity. If you’re middle-aged you realize it’s not so long after all. And if you’re a senior, you’re wondering where did all that time go? As we look at the rural electric program many of our co-ops are just now celebrating a milestone of 75 years of service to rural Illinois. ...Read More


Confidence in institutions at record lows

The last several years have seen ­erosion in the confidence Americans have in many of our ­institutions. According to Gallup’s annual “Confidence in Institutions” survey released in June, Americans are giving increasingly low marks to ­institutions such as public schools, big business, the media, banks and ­government. Out of 16 institutions tested only the military, small ­business and the police ...Read More

John Phipps is a ­columnist for Farm Journal, Top Producer, and the host for US Farm Report. He and his family farm 2,100 acres near Christman, Ill. and he is an award-winning speaker.

A time for co-ops

Cooperative businesses have ­traditionally been formed by necessity. Private enterprise was not eager to enter marginal ventures and/or remote locations, so groups formed to supply needed goods and services. Rooted in cultural ties of history and location, and focused on the common goals of similar patrons, cooperative efforts have often been the backbone of support for many regions and purposes. ...Read More