Rural Missouri - June 2012 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart An epic day for Missouri s someone who spent a great deal of my career working in economic development, April 19 was an epic day. On that day Ameren Missouri, the investor-owned utility that supplies electricity to Missouri’s cities, and Westinghouse Electric Co., an international firm with extensive experience in building nuclear reactors, among other things, made an announcement that will have far-reaching benefits for Missouri. On that beautiful spring day, the two companies announced a partnership that could make Ameren the first utility in the nation to construct a small modular reactor. These units are a good fit for utilities today because they require fewer up-front costs, can be built quickly and can be built at a central hub and shipped to their final destination by rail, truck or barge. The last item is what excited me the most. If Westinghouse lands up to $452 million in investments from the U.S. Department of Energy, it may well make Missouri that hub from which small-scale nuclear reactors are built and shipped around the world. As Gov. Jay Nixon said on that A by Barry Hart day, “Projects don’t get any bigger than this. This project can spark a new global industry right here in the Show-Me State.” When I worked as an economic development professional, I spent a lot of time courting manufacturers in the hope that one would build a new facility in my area, bringing jobs and tax revenue with it. An announcement like this one would have been a career day for anyone involved in these efforts. I was privileged to be one of those asked by Gov. Jay Nixon to address the crowd gathered that day on the lawn of the governor’s mansion. I was speaking on behalf of a coalition that includes all of Missouri’s electric utilities. This group came together because we are all focused on the long-term need for power in a world that sees new power-hungry electric devices added daily. At the same time, we are looking for those future baseload megawatts, the options for supplying them have been whittled down to just two: natural gas and nuclear, with supplemental power from wind. Putting Missouri first became the mantra as old rivalries were set aside. I was happy to report that all of Missouri’s utilities will be supporting Westinghouse in its bid for this important investment “If Westinghouse lands an expected $452 million in investments from the U.S. Department of Energy, it may well make Missouri that hub from which small-scale nuclear reactors are built and shipped around the world.” Barry Hart fund. This unprecedented alliance of electric energy providers reflects our commitment to take important steps now to address our state’s long-term energy needs and position Missouri for tremendous economic development opportunities in the future. Landing the federal investment funds is the first step in making Missouri a world leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of these small-scale nuclear power plants. To date, hundreds of letters of support have been sent to the U.S. Department of Energy by electric cooperatives in Missouri. Results of the investment fund competition are expected by mid to late summer. While there is a lot of work left to do before the first one rolls out the door, this effort is well worth all of the hard work it will take. Hats off to Ameren, Westinghouse and Gov. Nixon. We also thank everyone in the Missouri legislature who worked to create an environment where projects like this can succeed, especially Sen. Mike Kehoe and Rep. Jeanie Riddle, who worked so hard to get us to this point. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Modern agriculture by cooperative M by Bill Streeter ost people, on the outside of agriculture looking in, want to be assured agriculture has kept pace with modern life and modern technology. They want to know farmers are taking care of their animals, taking care of the environment and continuing to be good stewards of the land. Let me assure you today’s agriculture has not only met but exceeded your expectations. To illustrate that, let me explain briefly about a modern practice called precision agriculture. Precision agriculture gives farmers the ability to plant seed and place plant nutrients within one-half inch of accuracy. It gives them the ability to map fields according to soil type and projected yield. Precision agriculture even figures prominently in autosteering equipment through a field. This isn’t theoretical. Here at MFA, we have the largest precision agriculture service of any business in our trade territory. We have our own network of radio-frequency towers operating in conjunction with satellite signals that allow our farmers to use incredibly precise geo-spatial data in all areas of production. Today’s computer technology allows MFA farmers to place differing amounts of several plant nutrients at different rates and different places — all within one field. Midwest soils are notoriously diverse. Farmers can have multiple types of soils in one field. Each soil has differing nutrient needs. Our technology let’s us tailor inputs to fit the soil type and location. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Modern technology even allows tractors to follow specific pathways through fields in all phases of plant growth from pre-planting to harvest, all without the farmer touching the steering wheel. Precise satellite coordinates guide those tractors. Sounds like something futuristic, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Today’s farmers are taking advantage of these services in record numbers. So many farmers, in fact, that we have trouble keeping up with requests. MFA Incorporated has a long, proud history of serving agriculture through innovation. In fact, we’ll be “MFA Incorporated has a long, proud history of serving agriculture through innovation.” Bill Streeter celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2014. Today, MFA has sales exceeding $1 billion. But we’re still intimately involved in the communities of our farmer/owners. In fact, through the MFA Foundation, your local MFA cooperatives have been providing scholarships to rural kids for more than 50 years. The foundation has funded more than 10,000 young people in those years to the tune of more than $10 million in scholarships. That’s putting our money where our mouth is. Why? Because we all have a stake in educating America’s future workforce. It gives us something in common with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. We’re both cooperatives formed by members who wanted to make the world and their communities better places. After all, the cooperative structure, introduced to America by Benjamin Franklin, allows for the thoroughly modern concept of member control. Streeter is president and CEO of MFA Inc. You can learn more about MFA at or in MFA’s online magazine at JUNE 2012 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2012

Rural Missouri - June 2012
Table of Contents
The power of purple
The little town that could
Out of the Way Eats
Missouri snapshots contest
Sustainable forestry
Stocked with adventure
Hearth and Home
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - June 2012