People doing rehabilitation to a house.

Touchstone Energy® cooperative employees assist low-income homeowners

It has become a tradition for Touchstone Energy Cooperative volunteers from across the country to join forces once a year during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting to repair and rebuild local homes in the meeting’s host city. Pictured here is Nancy McDonald, the Regional Representative for Illinois, who joined 120 other volunteers […]

Career reality check app now available for Illinois teens

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has teamed up with the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) on a new Going Mobile initiative that will help teens, young adults and those considering career changes to obtain realistic projections and information. The Reality Check mobile app offers step-by-step instructions on how to evaluate a […]

NRECA CEO Jim Mattheson

Volatile changes in Washington, D.C. also mean opportunity

The changing of the guard is a “volatile time” in Washington, but that volatility creates opportunities for the nation’s electric cooperatives, says National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson. “Washington kind of gets set in its ways, and if they’re shaking things up right now, there’s volatility,” Matheson said Jan. 9 at NRECA’s CEO […]

Wind Turbines

G&T co-op’s demand management system incorporates renewables

Wabash Valley Power Association, a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) serving 23 electric ­distribution cooperatives in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, is upgrading its demand response software to include ­distributed energy management. The goal is to better ­balance energy demand peaks and valleys while incor­porating distributed renewable energy resources. OMNETRIC Group, the Siemens and Accenture joint […]

Fiber Optics Warning Pole

Co-ops applaud congressional call to expand rural broadband

America’s electric cooperatives applauded the 71 members of Congress who sent a letter to President Trump calling for him to include investments to bring broadband service to rural America in his infrastructure proposal. The letter was coordinated by the House Rural Broadband Caucus, which is led by co-chairs: Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob […]

Rural Landscape with Electric Poles

Electric cooperatives own 42 percent of the U.S. grid

Co-ops own and maintain 2.6 million miles, or 42 ­percent, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, ­covering three-quarters of the nation’s landmass. Co-ops serve an average of 7.4 consumers per mile of line and collect annual revenue of approximately $16,000 per mile of line as ­compared to investor-owned utilities, which have on average 34 customers […]

Girl in Cap ad Gown Graduating

Students unaware of a top hiring sector – agriculture

A national survey reports that students getting ready to enter the workforce are often overlooking one of the top hiring sectors – agriculture. The research, sponsored by the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, found that agriculture is not being considered by many high school and college ­students, despite it being one of the country’s […]

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, […]