USDA interest-free loan helps expand rural jobs

Global demand for high-quality, American-made products is well established, and expanded rural exports have the potential to support additional jobs and growth in rural America. On June 3, Sam Rikkers, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Rural Business Services, was able to share that message from the production facility of IHI Turbo America, a manufacturing company […]

Staying and planting roots in Southern Illinois

There’s been much hand wringing of late about people fleeing Illinois as the political climate here sours. Even before that, the rural “brain drain” – a phenomenon of the best and brightest leaving rural America in droves – has taken its toll. Only New Jersey outstrips Illinois in terms of the rate at which young people […]

Electric cooperatives add 100 megawatts of wind power

Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Wabash Valley Power Association have entered into a 20-year purchase power agreement that will add 100 ­megawatts (MW) of wind energy. The wind power agreement with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA) is for 100 MW from the Meadow Lake V Wind Farm located in northwest Indiana. Under the […]

Got electricity? Thank a lineman

Despite improvements, line work remains a dangerous job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts electric ­utility line work among the nation’s top 10 most hazardous ­professions, according to the agency’s most recent census using 2014 data. Electric line technicians recorded a 19.2 fatality rate per 100,000 workers, ninth on the list. While the number […]

State agencies pledge to share data to provide better services

Illinois is in the midst of an IT transformation to modernize its systems to provide state services more quickly and at a lower cost. Due to aging systems that cannot communicate with each other – particularly in the case of human services agencies – residents must call multiple agencies to find info­rmation or sign up […]

Agriculture Secretary announces Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund

In May, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million into small food and agriculture businesses across rural America. The fund is known as the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund. “Like their counterparts in urban areas, innovative small businesses throughout rural America need […]

Illinois Renewable Energy Conference July 21

John Freitag, Vice President of Operations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives and Executive Director for the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, will be speaking at the third annual Illinois Renewable Energy Conference to be held Thursday, July 21, at the Bone Student Center of Illinois State University in Normal. The conference is led by […]

Illinois pioneers of rural electrification

Lyle E. Dunham Lyle Dunham was “loaned” to the AIEC on a temporary basis in the summer of 1951 by Adams Electrical Co-Operative to ­manage the AIEC Annual Meeting Caravan. The Caravan crisscrossed the state to a dozen co-op annual meetings during hot summers, and consisted of three trailers full of two mammoth-sized tents, 5,000 […]

Co-op sponsored students meet with state leaders

During the Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day on Wednesday, April 13 in Springfield more than 225 students from around Illinois had an opportunity to visit the State Capitol, view state government in action and question their legislators on key issues. They heard from their local state senators and representatives and some even met […]

SIU receives $1 million grant to fuel energy scholarships

A national research agency has awarded Southern Illinois University Carbondale a new $1 million grant aimed at helping community college ­students prepare for careers in the energy sector. The National Science Foundation awarded the grant from its Division of Undergraduate Education to SIU, said Lizette Chevalier, associate dean of the College of Engineering. Students can […]