What’s New & Calendar of Events

Professional Development Opportunities

  • 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.
  • A pre-conference workshop on February 12, 2020 covered Updates on Dairy Farm Management.
  • 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. In 2020, Introduction and Intermediate classes will be held in May at Arlington, Wisconsin. An Advanced class may be held in the fall in Madison, Wisconsin. 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. Brochures for the 2020 classes are not yet available, but the information from 2019 is very similar and you can follow the links below to see the old versions (from 2019). Similar classes will likely be held in 2021.
  •  View the brochure for the 2019 Intro and Intermediate classes here.   View the brochure for the 2019 Advanced class here.

Rural Electrification in the News

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) dedicated a historic plaque on April 11, 2019, to celebrate a historic event in rural electrification. In the 1920’s the Alabama Power Company installed a rural electric line that provided service to ten farms, a cotton gin, and a dairy. They then met with the head of Auburn University’s Agricultural Engineering Department, Mark Nichols, to discuss rural electrification. The plaque commemorates the establishment of the first cooperative program for rural electrification between a power company and an agricultural engineering department.  Read more here.

Credit for Professional Training:

    • If you participated in an educational opportunity hosted by the Midwest Rural Energy Council and would like information on how to document instructional hours for professional training credit, click here.  You can get documentation for participation in the MREC Annual Conference or the Stray Voltage Investigator’s Trainings.


Archives of the brochures and presentations from previous annual  MREC conferences can be found here.