November 2014

The Big Pumpkin

A few weeks ago, my family traveled to my in-laws’ house near Deepwater, Mo., along Highway 13 between Springfield and Kansas City. We spent one afternoon harvesting and washing pumpkins and the next day selling pumpkins to travelers along the highway. When my wife, Debbie, and I were first married 26 years ago, it seemed my father-in-law, Larry Neuenschwander, grew pumpkins quite often as her younger brothers were able to help. However, as they graduated high school, Larry’s focus on his dairy operations and crop farming took precedence.

Now, Larry has retired from dairy farming and is, once again, growing pumpkins – big pumpkins. In fact, he received a white ribbon for a 206 pound pumpkin at the 2014 Missouri State Fair. Its waist line was eight feet. As a roadside vendor for a day, it was interesting to the talk to travelers and amusing to watch them take selfies with the “big pumpkin.” This fall’s pumpkin experience reminded me of simpler times and how agriculture – big and small – has the ability to connect generations and create memories.   

Your Opinion Counts

During the next 60 days, some SEMO Electric member-owners may receive a phone call to participate in a 15 minute member-owner satisfaction survey. The caller ID will say "Opinion Counts" from area code 336. This is not a scam. If called, I would appreciate your participation. There is no cost to participate. No calls should be made on Sundays. Thank you.  


To help determine electricity rates for 2015, the co-op received its 2014 Cost-of-Service Study (COSS) from MidSouth Utility Consultants. The COSS rate study is a necessary responsibility of SEMO Electric’s management and board of directors to ensure the co-op continues to operate in a financially sound manner. The COSS, as the name implies, is an analysis of the cooperative’s costs to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity. With the COSS information, SEMO Electric’s 2015 residential electricity rates may only increase a few dollars per month. Look for more information in next month’s column.

Sean’s Shout-outs

First: Shout-outs to SEMO Electric Cooperative member-owners Ron Shelby, Todd Shelby, Jared Hall, Charles Bauer, Heath Stengler and Tara Hitt. Thanks to taking time to discuss the co-op’s service and talking baseball, education, equipment and hunting. Second: Shout-outs to National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.). We recently discussed the importance of the Mississippi River and how it plays a pivotal role for agriculture and jobs in southeast Missouri. Third: A big shout-out to past and present veterans as we approach Veterans Day! Thank you for your service.

Be safe. Act smart.

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