Currents

LEED green building

Illinois leading nation in green building

In January, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that Illinois continues to be a leader in LEED green building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is changing the way we think about how ­buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated, and is the world’s most widely used and recognized green building […]

Prairie Farmer, the oldest continually published magazine in America

Illinois Country Living magazine will soon be celebrating its 75th ­anniversary, but a rural publication with even longer longevity is Prairie Farmer with 175 years of ­continuous publishing, making it the oldest ­magazine in America. “We’re very proud to have served Illinois agriculture for all of those years,” says Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor. “Our […]

Transition happens but the mission of rural development remains

With the transition to a new presidential ­administration, a good friend to rural Illinois, Illinois USDA Rural Development Director Colleen Callahan says goodbye, but despite the change for her the mission will continue. All the loan and grant programs will remain in place along with the dedicated public servants that served under Callahan. She says, […]

Biodiesel production predicted to grow in 2017

In its final Short-Term Energy Outlook of the year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts ­biodiesel production to average 104,000 barrels a day in 2017, a rise of more than 5 percent from 2016. Additionally, ethanol consumption is expected to ­average about 940,000 barrels a day in 2016 and 2017. In both years, ethanol’s share of […]

Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yield

Researchers report in the journal Science that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. In field trials, the scientists saw increases of 14 to 20 percent in the growth of their modified tobacco plants. The work ­confirms that photosynthesis can be made more efficient to increase plant yield, […]

It pays to be connected with Co-op Connections

If your co-op offers the Touchstone Energy Co-op Connections card program, and you’re not using it, you could be losing out on big ­savings. Co-op Connections offers co-op members product and ­service ­discounts at participating retail ­businesses. In turn, ­participating businesses benefit from increased ­customer traffic, and from promotions in co-op communications and advertising materials. If […]

Co-op leaders discuss today’s challenges at leadership roundtable

Cooperatives serving rural areas are successful when board ­leaders and managers are responsive to each other and to today’s co-op ­member. To discuss new issues and learn from each other cooperative ­leaders from Illinois, Alabama, South Dakota, North Dakota and Indiana attended the Cooperative Board Chairmen’s Roundtable sponsored by the Mid America Cooperative Council, Inc., […]

Saving Illinois forests by cutting down trees

Conservationists normally plant trees – not cut them down. But, in an innovative project at Trail of Tears State Forest, that is precisely what the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is doing to restore a more open, sunny forest that can support a diversity of life. “We intent to restore a healthier, more resilient […]

America’s problems require ‘profound change’ to solve

President-elect Donald Trump’s unexpected White House win can be summed up simply: an ­unorthodox ­candidate meeting a moment in time when voters—­especially those in rural communities—were fed up with the federal government. So declared former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in post-Election Day remarks during the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) Independent Borrowers […]

MJM Electric Cooperative and USDA help expand rural healthcare

Access to healthcare is a big issue for many rural areas. That in turn has a big impact on the future growth and economic growth. On Thursday, October 20, officials from MJM Electric Cooperative, Carlinville Area Hospital and USDA Rural Development celebrated their cooperative partnership to solve this issue with a $2 million zero interest […]