by | Jan 1, 2020

by Caleb Jones

If you are like me, you’ll most likely start the new year with resolutions. I feel like my perpetual resolutions are to eat better, work out more, spend more time with my wife and kids and maybe cut back just a little bit on the diet soda. History tells us the Romans believed in the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. I can picture Julius Caesar scribing his on a piece of parchment: “Beware the Ides of March. Keep the Barbarians at the gate.”

That said, it’s highly likely that some of your resolutions — and mine — won’t survive past President’s Day. Experts say that’s because most resolutions aren’t realistic. For example, the odds of me cutting back on my daily dose of soda probably are twofold — slim and none.

One resolution I have for myself in 2020 is to reach out to you, the members of Missouri’s electric cooperatives, more often and in more ways. Communication has always been important to your electric cooperative. In the early days they all had a newsletter with names like The Country Circuit, The Electric Sparks and Rural Cooperator’s News.

These monthly publications offered tips on using electricity, preached safety around power lines and provided updates on board actions. In 1948 the cooperatives pooled their resources and launched the Rural Electric Missourian, the predecessor of today’s Rural Missouri. Local pages with information devoted to individual cooperatives then and now were a big part of the publication.

This month we made some big improvements to Rural Missouri, making the size more convenient while adding pages to keep the amount of material the same. It’s one of many changes we’ve made over the years to keep up with the times and ensure high readership.

Surveys show Rural Missouri is well read. But I like the informal surveys that come from our readers in the form of letters, emails and phone calls. A recent one from a Platte-Clay Electric member told us he would, “continue to love your articles if they were printed on toilet paper. Well, maybe recipe cards!”

A call from a woman who is not a member but gladly pays the small fee to subscribe on her own really made my day. She said the magazine was worth “millions” to her.

Our communication with members has really stepped up in recent years. Local communicators at your cooperatives are highly professional and dedicated to keeping you up to date on all your cooperative does. How co-ops can effectively reach out to our membership is constantly evolving. The tools in their toolbox have changed too and now include all of the social media channels.

I’d like to invite you to be part of the cooperative conversation at It’s your gateway into all things electric cooperative. Communication works best when it’s a two-way street, so please keep those letters, emails and phone calls coming.

Jones is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

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