Rural Missouri - October 2010 - (Page 4)

C O M M E N T S Electric cooperatives have been serving members since 1935 A month to honor co-ops “Devoted to the rural way of life” October 2010 Volume 62 / Number 10 Jim McCarty, editor Jason Jenkins, managing editor Heather Berry, associate editor Kyle Spradley, field editor Jammie Berendzen, editorial assistant Mary Davis, production manager Angie Jones-Gerber Dusty Weter Co-op page designers Circulation of this issue: 545,141 USPS 473-000 ISSN 0164-8578 Copyright 2010, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Call for reprint rights. Rural Missouri is published monthly by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Barry Hart, executive vice president. Individual subscription rate: $9 per year or $21 for three years, taxes and postage included. Group rate for members of participating RECs $3.99, taxes and postage included. Delivery as specified by subscriber. If not specified, delivery will be by periodical class mail at subscriber’s expense. Periodical Class postage paid at Jefferson City, MO, and additional mailing offices. Members of Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative, Palmyra, enjoy their 1957 annual meeting. The yearly gathering of members to elect representatives for the board and take care of business is unique to the cooperative form of business. F or 75 years, electric cooperatives have brought more than electricity to those who belong to them. Besides providing much-needed electricity to improve the quality of life in rural areas, electric cooperatives brought service to their members. This service function is what separates them from the competition. October is Cooperative Month, and now is a great time to reflect on the contributions electric co-ops and other forms of the cooperative business model bring to the nation. In the case of electric co-ops, they brought members literally out of the darkness and raised the standard of living to a level previously enjoyed only in cities. Just like other cooperatives that came before and after, they made rural people competitive in the business world by adding a new hired hand — electricity — that promised to work affordably and reliably whenever it was called upon. Electricity may have never come to rural people if those living there hadn’t applied the cooperative business model to something others said couldn’t be done. Capitalism works great when the potential to garner a profit exists. But in rural areas where the population was few and far between, utilities already in operation serving cities and small towns believed there was no chance to turn a profit on the slim pickings available in the countryside. They were correct in this thinking. So how, then, did those pioneers of rural electrification succeed where others feared to tread? They eliminated the profit motive and focused instead on providing service. Thus, an electric cooperative exists for no other reason than to provide quality service to its members. The same can be said for other cooperative forms of business, ranging from dairy co-ops that add value to milk and cheese, to farm supply cooperatives that save members money on the materials they need to stay in business. Since the first cooperative was founded in 1844 in Rochdale, England, people have met all kinds of needs by cooperation. For example, REI, the short form for Recreational Equipment Inc. began in 1938 when 23 climbing buddies wanted an affordable place to buy equipment for their outdoor pursuits. Anyone today can buy recreational equipment from REI, but those who become members receive a dividend back from their purchases. MFA Incorporated is a cooperative built by farmers for farmers. After its founding in a one-room schoolhouse in 1914, its seven original members saved money by ordering baling twine in bulk. Since then, the cooperative has grown to more than 45,000 members who own a company with annual sales topping $750 million. Other cooperatives offer healthy food, provide child care, keep the cost of housing low or pool resources to pay for services such as advertising. While they may appear as different as night and day, all cooperatives have one thing in common: They are owned by the members and exist to provide service to the members. And they are as vital today as they were when the first one was created. Find us on Postmasters: Send address changes to Rural Missouri, P.O. Box 1645, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Subscribers: Report change of address to your local cooperative. Do not send change of address to Rural Missouri. Advertising standards: Advertising published in Rural Missouri is accepted on the premise that the merchandise and services offered are accurately described and sold to customers at the advertised price. Rural Missouri and Missouri’s electric cooperatives do not endorse any products or services advertised herein. Advertising that does not conform to these standards or that is deceptive or misleading is never knowingly accepted by this publication. Advertising information: 573-659-3400 National Advertising Representative: National Country Market; 611 S. Congress St., Suite 504; Austin, TX 78704 573-659-3400 Member, Missouri Association of Publications and Missouri Press Association P.O. Box 1645 Jefferson City, MO 65102 573-659-3423 Rural Missouri 4 RURAL MISSOURI

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2010

Rural Missouri - October 2010
Good Times on the Berryman
Elk in Missouri?
Mail Bag
Right-of-Way Management
Out of the Way Eats
Live Like a Viking
Two Men and a Cave
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Paddlin' for a Cure
Get in Touch with Ghosts
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - October 2010