Midwest Rural Energy Council


The Midwest Rural Energy Council is a cooperative effort between Extension programs at the University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University and Iowa State University, and farm programs of member electric power suppliers in these states.  Our mission is to support outreach, education and research on rural energy issues for the benefit of:

  • farms and other rural energy consumers,
  • rural energy suppliers,
  • farm organizations and agricultural trade associations,
  • electrical equipment and allied industries,
  • government regulatory agencies.

Our annual conference typically occurs in February. The next Midwest Rural Energy Conference will be February 10-12, 2021 in Bloomington, MN at the Embassy Suites Airport Hotel, 2800 American Blvd. Follow the links above or to the right to find out more about the MREC, MREC publications, announcements and other educational programs and information on a variety of rural energy issues. Here is a promotional flier about MREC (half a page, front and back).

  • Three classes in Stray Voltage Investigation for dairy producers and agricultural professionals are typically held each year. Stray Voltage Investigator’s Classes were developed by the University of Wisconsin, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Here is a brochure.
  • In response to requests from the Wisconsin State government as well as the UW-Madison campus, we have postponed the introductory stray voltage investigators courses originally scheduled for May of 2020.  We traditionally run the advanced analysis course in early October.   We will stay in sequence and offer the introductory and field testing courses next, followed by the advanced analysis course.  We will assess the situation in July and determine if one or more courses will be offered in October of 2020.
  • Instructors are Paul Ortmann of Idaho Power, Doug Reinemann of the University of Wisconsin, and Robert Fick, Brian Costello, and Michael Haas of Alliant Energy.
  • To get an idea of what the Intro and Intermediate classes will cover, see the brochure for the cancelled class.
  • To get an idea of what the advanced class covers, see last year’s brochure.
  • The 2020 MREC Rural Energy Conference was held February 12-14 at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin. See the 2020 archives for presentations. Speakers presented about proper stray voltage measurement techniques, new challenges for regional energy transmission with wind and solar power generation, impact of trade agreements on farmers, energy use comparison of robotic milking compared to other systems, carbon footprint of swine systems, stray voltage effects on cow health, livestock used to manage land under solar arrays, a comparison of different types of dairy farms and their energy use, applied ethics, first hand experiences of managing a large scale robotic dairy, and converting digesters to natural gas. There was a pre-conference workshop during the afternoon of February 12, 2020, on Updates on Dairy Farm Management.

Archives of previous conference brochures and conference presentations are here.

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We would like to hear from you! For more information about the MREC, contact the secretary at mrec@uwex.edu. Also, if you have comments or problems with the website please send us an email.