Celebrating 75 years telling the story of rural Missouri
Editor’s note: As the Rural Missouri staff looks back on 75 years covering the people and places of our great state, here’s an editorial that ran in the inaugural issue in January 1948. Written by Editor Homer Hill and illustrated by his wife, Irma, it tells the mission behind the publication’s launch so many years ago. We dedicate this 75th anniversary edition to the staff that produced it — and to its faithful readers who have welcomed us into their homes.
A handful of farmers and a county agent sat under an elm tree one afternoon. They worked over county maps and talked. The hot weather was little noted. An REA co-op was beginning to take shape.
This may have been your co-op. Or perhaps yours started in the district school, by a friendly fireside or at the town square on Saturday afternoon.
In any event, your co-op, like all the rest, began with far-seeing, community-spirited men and women working together. As the word went along, they were joined by other farmers down the road.
This neighborliness — mutual confidence and desire to work together — has achieved a modern business miracle. Without subsidization, it has brought into your community an electric system whose worth is beyond measurement.
As one farmer partook of the joys that electric service affords, he helped his neighbor get it. Thus traditional American spirit has fostered in Missouri 43 electric cooperatives that serve more than 100,000 rural homes. The REA family has grown large.
In this same tradition, your co-op has joined with other cooperatives in the state to work jointly on problems it could not solve by working alone. Out of this association have come many achievements to advance rural electrification all over Missouri.
Now your electric cooperatives have started a new venture — the publication of a monthly paper, Rural Electric Missourian. Since member-consumers own the electric co-ops, the Missourian is your paper and will be devoted to your interest.
The Missourian will bring you items of interest about your REA neighbors throughout the state. It will bring factual stories on how the electric servant aids farm production, homemaking, education and health — how it saves labor, cuts costs and makes for a fuller life for young and old.
It will tell of new things in electric farming and electric living. It will be a trading post for your ideas and those of other farm folk.
To enable you to protect the great cooperative enterprise you have built, the Missourian will expose any interests that seek to hinder or destroy it, irrespective of where they are found.
As we begin the new year, the Missourian pledges itself to work with co-op members in their efforts to keep the lights burning in their own homes and to extend them to another 120,000 farmers awaiting them.