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


Coal important to national energy strategy

As most of you know, I did not run for re-election and will end my more than 24-year career in Congress this January. It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of southwestern and southern Illinois. I have particularly enjoyed my close working relationship with the electric co-ops, and greatly appreciate the time and attention they continuously devote ...Read More

Serving rural issues

This coming January will mark 18 years that I have served in the General Assembly on behalf of the residents of south central and southeastern Illinois. During that time, our region has progressed and at the same time experienced more than its share of hardship thanks to the Great Recession, several severe storms and this year’s unprecedented drought. I was pleased ...Read More


One voice, one vote

Last month’s magazine had a ­feature that emphasized ­cooperatives. Cooperatives are international and in some countries they play a dominant role in business and industry. That’s why we were pleased when the United Nations recognized this year as the International Year of the Cooperative. The cooperative business model is governed by seven cooperative principles and the second principle is democratic ...Read More

Historically low energy prices can’t last

To introduce myself, for the past several years I served as Director of the Illinois Power Agency (IPA). The IPA is the state agency created in 2007 by the Illinois General Assembly to purchase wholesale power for certain customers of Ameren and ComEd, the state’s investor-owned electric utilities. In October 2011, I started a consulting service and now advise communities on ...Read More


A new generation of coal technology

As an Illinoisan, our state’s most abundant source of energy may be right under your feet. With the United States of America having greater than 25 percent of the world’s coal reserves, the state of Illinois’ underground geography is 65 percent coal, representing 38 million metric tons. The energy from Illinois’ coal supply is more than the fuel reserves in ...Read More


Here comes the sun

Passersby on I-55, which runs right alongside the office of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives on Springfield’s far south side, might catch a glimpse of something new … a shiny, new solar photovoltaic system. The AIEC just installed a pole-mounted, solar PV system that will produce electricity to help power our 20,000 square foot headquarters facility. The new system ...Read More


Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

A cooperative exists solely for the benefit of its members and the community it serves; not to make money for corporate stockholders. Your cooperative takes this responsibility seriously, and every other year the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) mails thousands of surveys on behalf of all 25 Illinois distribution co-ops. Responses from these surveys reflect how satisfied you are ...Read More


New Ag Director on a mission

As a former mayor and legislator who represented both rural and urban parts of east central Illinois that depend upon a robust agricultural economy, I’ve always understood that Illinois is an agrarian state.  So, when Governor Quinn appointed me as director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, I was humbled by the opportunity to serve in a role where I ...Read More