The Wisconsin Ag Connection encourages Americans to celebrate cooperatives this month:
Wisconsin kicks off Cooperative Month in October, there is new evidence that people prefer to do business with cooperatives over investor-owned businesses. That’s according to Cooperative Network, which commissioned a survey through the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute that shows 47 percent of consumers in Wisconsin and Minnesota indicated they were members of a cooperative, of which 74 percent said that they were more likely to choose cooperatives over other businesses based on their past experiences. Continue reading →
The Lakefield Standard announces 12 local cooperatives have purchased the electric service territory in southern Minnesota from Alliant Energy.
SMEC officials on Tuesday announced they have reached a definitive agreement to acquire territory from Alliant Energy. The transaction is contingent upon regulatory approval. Assuming the acquisition is approved by regulators, it is expected to close in 2014.
Should the acquisition receive all the requisite approvals, Alliant Energy customers will become member-owners of one of the 12 electric cooperatives and enjoy the benefits of cooperative ownership including voting rights, board representation and the opportunity for patronage capital refunds — the margins of a cooperative that are returned to member-owners over time.
The 12 SMEC member cooperatives are BENCO Electric Cooperative, Brown County Rural Electrical Association, Federated Rural Electric, Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, Nobles Cooperative Electric, People’s Energy Cooperative, Redwood Electric Cooperative, Sioux Valley Energy, South Central Electric Association, Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric and Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
“All 12 electric cooperatives have served southern Minnesota for more than 70 years,” said Burud. “We look forward to extending our professional, high-quality service to the former Alliant Energy customers who will become our new member-owners.”
The Advertiserannounces that an organic farm intends to produce power for the national grid by using a digester to convert farm waste to energy:
Home Farm, at Newby Wiske, which is the northern base for Riverford Organic Farms, has applied to Hambleton District Council to install a sunken and domed 200kW anaerobic digester as part of a drive to diversify into rearing pigs.
Peter Richardson, whose family has farmed the land for three generations, wants to relaunch the pig-fattening part of his business following an upsurge in demand for home-produced high-quality meat.
Mr Richardson, who launched the organic business in 1996 and is part of the firm which supplies 40,000 boxes of vegetables to consumers every week, aims to use the digester to break down the anticipated 1,500 tonnes of farmyard manure from the pigs. Continue reading →
If you are interested in an alternative econonic model to the traditional corporate capitalism practiced in the US, you’ll find this presentation informative and uplifting. It highlights the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy which is one of the richest in Europe. Emilia-Romagna is also one of the most cooperative regions in the world. Nearly two out of every three of its 4.5 million citizens are members of a cooperative. Cooperatives support around 30% of the region’s GDP, making it a stellar example of a large-scale cooperative economy. The cooperative economy is strongly bolstered by networked relationships which also make cooperatives more resilient in economic crises.
From the Jakarta Post, Bali seeks to accelerate its energy and agriculture self-sufficiency programs:
In line with its mission to be a “clean and green” and “organic” island, Bali should accelerate its energy and agriculture self-sufficiency programs, an NGO has urged.
I Gede Suarja, coordinator of the BIRU program with the Yayasan Rumah Energi (YRE) foundation in Bali — a program that has initiated the use of household biogas digesters, said that being self-sufficient in energy and agriculture could be achieved by optimizing the use of alternative energy.
“Not only would it save the consumption of non-renewable energy, as in the BIRU program, but it would also support organic farming through the use of bio-slurry [the residue resulting from biogas production] as organic fertilizer for farmland, so farmers would no longer depend on chemical fertilizers,” Suarja said recently.
As an organic fertilizer, bio-slurry had been proven environmentally friendly and able to improve farm land productivity, he said.
According to Suarja, although the island had great potential to produce biogas, the use of this alternative energy was still limited.
“There is great potential to produce biogas, a renewable energy, from livestock dung, as many families in Bali breed pigs, chickens and cows,” he said, illustrating that on average, each farming family on the island bred two to three cows and four to five pigs, which was sufficient as a source of biogas.
It’s a bold 21st century sustainability project that will be fueled, ironically, by 19th century technology.
Excess energy from the powerful boilers that run the CUB Brewery in Abbotsford are being retasked to meet the energy needs of a nearby office building, turning it into a hub of environmental sustainability and design.
”We are in a really unique position – with the brewery and its existing co-generation infrastructure – to begin establishing a renewal energy community utility, which will the first of its kind in Australia,” said John Shone, chief executive of environmental research and education group Kunexion.
”This is part of the Yarra Energy Foundation’s strategy to establish a municipal style community utility and renewable energy business based around six industry districts in the City of Yarra,” Mr Shone said. ”We happen to have six large boiler rooms in our municipality that already generate electricity, hot water and heating and cooling for their host operation, be it a brewery, hospital, university or laundry. So we’re able to use, quite ironically, infrastructure from the 1840s – i.e. the steam engine – to generate renewable energy today.”
This year’s national Pulitzer Prize went to an unlikely recipient:
“InsideClimate News reporters Elizabeth McGowan, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer are the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. The trio took top honors in the category for their work on “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of,” a project that began with a seven-month investigation into the million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. It broadened into an examination of national pipeline safety issues, and how unprepared the nation is for the impending flood of imports of a more corrosive and more dangerous form of oil.”
Their total budget is $550,000, they have no office and there are only three of them on the Pulitzer Team.
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