2018-06-13 / News

The Electrification of Rural America

Lamport Farms in Hobart June 10 as the sun begins to set. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Lamport Farms in Hobart June 10 as the sun begins to set. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter With June designated as Dairy Month, it seems appropriate to reflect on the close historical relationship between dairy farming and the establishment of Delaware County Electric Cooperative, (DCEC).

The predecessor of Dairy Month, National Milk Month, was first established in 1937. The primary intention was to promote the drinking of milk and to help stabilize the markets for dairy products in America.

Dairy Month became an annual tradition. It’s now promoted by the National Dairy Council, a non-profit organization founded by dairy farmers and funded through the dairy check-off program. It seeks to celebrate the nutritional and health benefits that dairy foods provide.

It was also during the decade of the 1930s that the Agricultural

Marketing Act of 1937 was enacted during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). This Act provided the authority for federal milk marketing orders. As this Act went into effect, it led to the stabilization of milk prices in many of the milk sheds in America of that time, including that of New York. Although modified many times since then, these milk marketing orders exist to this day.

During the 1930s, FDR’s administration also recognized that in order to enable increased productivity, efficiency and growth in the agricultural sector, electrification of rural America would be required. It was reported that only about twelve percent of American farms had access to central station electric service at that time.

Therefore, in 1935, President

Roosevelt issued an executive order establishing the Rural Electrification Administration which may be more well known by its abbreviated name, the “REA.”

The order began the process of the establishment of electric cooperatives that would undertake the work necessary to bring electric service to farms and homes across rural America.

DCEC was an early participant in this electrification effort, being organized originally as a membership association in 1942. The membership association began the noble task of building an electric distribution system to serve our rural area of New York. Since those early years, the system has been expanded so that DCEC continues to provide electric service to farms and homes in our rural area of New York.

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