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, […]

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., […]