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Hunters help track feral swine in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are enlisting the help of Illinois hunters in efforts to track feral swine and assist in slowing the population and expanding range of the invasive animals in the state.

Feral swine – often referred to as feral hogs and wild pigs – are defined as free-ranging animals that are not under domestic livestock confinement. They are an invasive species competing with native wildlife for food resources and damaging soil through their rooting and feeding activities, increasing soil erosion and damaging crops, plants and water quality. Feral swine also are known to carry at least 30 diseases that pose serious implications for people, pets, wildlife and livestock.

Hunters, landowners and others who see feral swine in Illinois are asked to report the sightings to the IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources at 217-785-2511. Hunters in the field who observe feral swine and possess a valid Illinois FOID card can – with the permission of the landowner – legally shoot the wild hogs.

For more information on the impacts of feral swine, check the USDA website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/feral_swine/


Adams Electric unveils Brown County wind turbine

Adams Electric Cooperative unveiled its 1.5 megawatt Brown County Wind Turbine with an open house on Nov. 1 at the turbine site near its Mt. Sterling substation. The turbine will supply about 4 million kWhs of electricity each year, enough to power 300-400 homes.

The turbine standing 281 feet tall, was manufactured by Vensys, a German company. The blades and tower were American-made. Financial support for the project included a $450,000 grant from the USDA and $1.75 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS), which are low-interest loans for renewable energy projects.

This is the second turbine Adams Electric has in operation. The two turbines are expected to produce 3 to 4 percent of the energy it supplies to its members. For more information, visit www.adamselectric.coop.


The perfect Illinois gift is a click away

The perfect, food-related gift for family and friends this holiday season may be just a mouse click away.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) maintains a website to promote products made by Illinois food companies.

About 200 companies currently are listed on the site, some of which offer special gift items and gift baskets. Their products range from gourmet coffee and chocolate to fine wine and cheese.

“I encourage holiday shoppers to visit our site,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “Illinois food products make creative gift ideas and are a great way to demonstrate support for Illinois agriculture.”

In addition to food, the website also includes items such as soy candles, beauty, health and wellness products and decorative items.

The best part is that you can shop from the comfort of your home and have the products delivered wherever you choose, Jennings added. It’s a simple and convenient way to do your holiday shopping. To visit the website, go to www.agr.state.il.us and then click on the rectangular box on the right side of the page entitled Purchase Illinois Products Gift Items Online. Consumers who are interested in Illinois food also might want to make plans to visit the Illinois Products Expo.

More than 80 Illinois food and wine companies provide samples of their products during the event, which will be held March 5-6 next year in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

For more information about the Illinois Products Expo, contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Marketing and Promotion at (217) 524-3012 or e-mail larry.aldag@illinois.gov.


USDA celebrates 150 years of service to rural America

November 2 kicked off a year-long national commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the US Department of Agriculture. The agency was created on May 15, 1862 under President Abraham Lincoln, and the kickoff was held in the Old State Capitol Hall of Representatives. President Lincoln established USDA because he recognized the potential of America’s farmers to find new ways to cultivate the land and with advances in research and technology, America’s farmers and ranchers could provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, standing to the right of the sign, is shown unveiling the logo for the 150th anniversary. Vilsack said, “Through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resources conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills President Lincoln’s vision as ‘The People’s Department’- touching the lives of every American, every day. As we commemorate 150 years, we will look for lessons from the past that can help us strengthen USDA in the future to address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America.”


Carson receives ICC Outstanding Cooperative Director award

Phil Carson was honored as the 2011 Illinois Cooperative Council’s (ICC) Outstanding Cooperative Director at the AIEC office on Thursday, October 20. Making the presentation was Karen Fraase, Chair of the ICC board of directors. Carson is a director for several cooperative boards including: Tri-County Electric, Egyptian Telephone, Southern Illinois Power, Agripride FS, AIEC and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

For 30 years, efforts of the ICC have promoted a positive climate for cooperatives

and helped to educate the public about the value and importance of cooperatives in our everyday lives. Each year the council presents awards in four outstanding leadership categories: Director, Manager/CEO, Educator and Friend.


Co-op celebrates geothermal milestone and $1.2 million in annual member savings

In October Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, based in Paxton, Ill., celebrated the 1,000th geothermal system installed in the cooperative’s service territory. Nearly 9 percent of the co-op’s members now have geothermal HVAC systems.

Geothermal systems are, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available today.” Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Wm. David Champion, Jr. noted, “As a member-owned utility, we are always looking for ways to help our members save money on their utility bills. Geothermal systems definitely do that, plus they are great for the environment. In fact, I had a geothermal system installed at my home several years ago, and we love it!”

Simply put, geothermal systems utilize the nearly constant temperatures underground, via a loop system, to heat a home in the winter and cool it in the summer. By utilizing the Earth’s built-in energy, instead of having to create it, systems can operate at up to 400 percent efficiency.

Champion said, “While we don’t sell or install geothermal systems ourselves, we believe in the technology and the cost-savings it brings. That makes it easy for us to recommend them to our members. As far as we know, no other electric co-op in the country has installed 1,000 geothermal systems, so we are very proud of reaching this milestone.”

© 2014 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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