Currents

Illinois Senate and House pass harvest transportation issues bill

Legislation recently passed by the Illinois Senate and House gives the governor the ability to increase gross ­vehicle weight limits during harvest ­emergencies. Senate Bill 1576 was sponsored by Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Moline and the House ­version HB 2580, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, gives the governor the authority to increase the vehicle weight […]

Protect yourself during mosquito season

During mosquito season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding Illinoisans of the best ways to avoid being ­bitten. Different types of mosquitoes can carry ­different types of diseases, like West Nile virus and Zika virus, but steps you can take to protect yourself from mosquito bites are essentially the same. Taking some […]

Wind Turbines

Dairyland Power Cooperative announces wind energy expansion

Dairyland Power Cooperative began purchasing 80 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from the Barton Wind Farm (Kensett, Iowa), in February. The generation and transmission cooperative serves 24 member distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The 80 MW is enough renewable energy to power more than 19,000 homes. “Dairyland’s vision is […]

Calculating a way to build better rural roads and bridges

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program is ­launching a new Roadway and Bridge Improvement Calculator, an online service intended to help local communities better plan road and bridge projects. Simple, ­customizable and fast, the calculator will allow ­communities to save time and money during budgeting and planning stages so that more financial resources can […]

Trump, Congress focus on Rural America

The Trump administration and Congress both are ­taking steps they say can help to promote expanded economic activity in rural America. Trump signed an executive order on April 24 establishing an interagency working group to promote agriculture and rural prosperity. The task force, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, is charged with ­identifying legislative, regulatory […]

Sluggish times in nation’s heartland

Nineteen months and ­counting. That’s how long the rural economy has been subpar, according to a study of ­economic activity in the nation’s heartland. The Rural Mainstreet Index, which looks at a 10-state region that depends on agriculture and energy, registered a 45.3 mark for March on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 […]

Cooperative solar skyrockets

By the end of 2017, the total solar energy ­capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago, according to data released by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 ­megawatts of solar, which would bring their total ­capacity to 873 […]

Electric cooperatives got relief from EPA regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is halting effluent limitations guidelines and standards for electric generation from taking effect until the agency reconsiders the regulations, estimated to cost $480 million per year. The rule would have required several generation and transmission (G&T) co-ops to decide capital expen­ditures in the tens of millions of dollars […]

Cooperative leaders return from legislative conference

Fifty-two Illinois electric cooperative represen­tatives joined peers from across the country to send a strong message to Congress and key ­agencies during the annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. During meetings with Illinois’ U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representatives, whose districts have cooperative ­service territory, they urged support for legislation extending the Geothermal Tax Credit, […]

Rural day care problem solved cooperatively

“Grim” is how working parents Jon and Laura Dronen describe the day care ­situation in Hazen, North Dakota. Ever since the couple’s long-time baby­sitter retired in May 2016, the parents of two children under age eight have had four different providers, including a cousin they flew in from Oklahoma. Jon, a Procurement Operations Administrator at […]