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Wisconsin Rural Electric Cooperative Association / First yearbook, 1938
(1938)

Preface,   p. 4 PDF (297.0 KB)


Page 4


  4     WISCONSIN RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION
                               Preface
    Two years ago the federal government's program to extend electric
service to the farm was introduced in this state. Farmers had long desired
this necessary and essential service but only a small portion of them had
been able to take on this service because of their inability to furnish the
financing, and, in addition, pay rates to private utilities which were beyond
their ability.
    As the first director of this work inaugurated by Governor LaFollette,
I witnessed the baptism of this program in Wisconsin. The office of Rural
Electrification Coordination was set up in the state capitol for the purpose
of aiding farmers in organizing themselves into groups and correlating
and coordinating their plans with the REA at Washington. The policy
of the office was established by chosen representatives of the organized
farm
groups of the state. It was early observed that the work of electrification
should be done on an area basis. It was but natural that the policy of these
farm representatives should favor organization on the cooperative basis.
     The baptism of this proposal was a "baptism of fire" on the
part of
private utilities who insisted that this field of endeavorbelonged to them
and that there was no place for the cooperative in the furnishing of electric
service. Through the splendid cooperation of the farm groups of this
state this "baptism of fire" met united cooperative action, with
the result
that 100% of the money made available for the building of electric lines
in this state has been furnished to and expended by cooperatives and
municipalities.
     After the cooperatives had been organized and the money had been
 made available, and engineering, supervision and management became the
 next order in the program, the need of a central unit to take care of this
 work was found advisable and necessary. Thereupon, these organized
 groups of electric cooperatives formed their own "Cooperative of Coopera-
 tives," which they named "THE WISCONSIN RURAL ELECTRIC COoPERA-
 TIVE ASSOCIATION," the first of its kind to be created in this country.
      The progress which this cooperative has made in the engineering,
 supervision, advisory and management services rendered to the local
 cooperatives, many of which have been completed and many of which are
 under construction, is highly commendable. Material results can be seen
 in the 4,000 miles of cooperatively owned lines, carrying services which
 mean a hired man to the farmer and a hired girl to the farmer's wife,
 bringing comforts and a better and a fuller life to approximately 13,000
 families and approximately 65,000 people.
     The farmers of this state are experiencing the practical truth of coop-
 eration in self benefits and community solidarity. The cooperation of the
 municipally owned plants with the local cooperative has immeasurably
 strengthened both units as their essential secrets coincide. THE WISCON-
 SIN RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION has fulfilled a necessary
 and a useful purpose. It has not only served and is serving the farmers
 through their cooperatives, but it is making a splendid contribution to
 the progress of Wisconsin.
                       Auorney General of Wisconsin.
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