Fall is a busy time of year around northeast South Dakota. Farmers are gearing up for harvest and our local communities are preparing for hunters who will make their way to the state for the annual pheasant season.
Your local cooperatives are also getting ready to recognize a special occasion in October. That event is Co-op Month. Co-op Month has been celebrated across the country for more than 50 years. The theme of Co-op Month this year is ‘Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community.’ According to the Cooperative Network, there are more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in the United States with more than 350 million members. Many of those co-ops and thousands of those members are located right here in South Dakota.
I could talk about many ways our local co-ops are contributing to our communities, but I want to focus on one timely topic that Northern Electric has been promoting alongside other co-ops in the region. Farm safety has been a primary focus of co-ops over the past few years as farm machinery gets larger and farm technology continues to change. Many cooperative businesses in northeast South Dakota are involved in agriculture so farm safety is the one topic that affects all our members.
This fall, you will likely hear farm safety advertisements on the radio sponsored by your local Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. You will also see social media posts and digital ads this fall promoting the same farm safety message. This is a cooperative effort among your local electric cooperatives in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. Northern Electric is one of more than two dozen Touchstone Energy Cooperatives that has collaborated to sponsor these radio ads and this digital advertising effort. It is one-way co-ops are coming together to promote safety this fall and demonstrate the sixth cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives.
Northern Electric Cooperative also recently partnered with Agtegra Cooperative and our two neighboring electric cooperatives, Lake Region and FEM Electric Association, at the Brown County Fair. We came together to promote farm safety by hosting a farm safety day for kids and families at the fair. There were demonstrations about electrical safety, ATV safety, and grain bin safety. There were also games and activities to promote safety and co-ops. More than 500 people attended this event which demonstrated the shared commitment all our local co-ops have to teach the next generation about these important topics.
Co-ops were created by our communities to provide our local communities with essential services. Promoting safety is just one way to show how co-ops are coming together to continue our commitment to our communities. I hope everyone has a safe and successful fall and harvest season.