Butler Rural Electric Cooperative

Osprey in flight

The fish hawk with fish hooks for hands

The first time you see an osprey dive on a fish is one of those memorable birding moments that last a lifetime. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet, ospreys are not small birds of prey.

As it flies, the osprey will also shake itself, much like a dog, removing water from its feathers. The fish feast is then flown to a large, bulky stick nest and shared with its mate/young, or possibly, the fish is simply taken to a stout tree limb where the osprey alights and enjoys a solo meal of the world’s freshest sushi.

Lorain-Medina school donation

A little help

School districts across the country struggled with how to continue their operations through the COVID-19 pandemic. How could they keep kids and teachers safe during in-building instruction?

But the coronavirus did force changes. The district needed to find a way to teach the 230 students who chose online instruction, while keeping those in the buildings safe with increased personal protective gear and gallons upon gallons of sanitizer for hands and high-touch surfaces, as well as other incidentals that came up every day.

“Contrary to what anyone may think, these expenses have not been just a drop in the bucket, and there has not been much help forthcoming from the state or federal government,” Clark says. “All of our COVID-related expenses have really added up.”

Farm safety demonstration

Safety mission

While watching RFD-TV one night, Russ Beckner saw a segment that showed a California mom driving a tractor around with her two young kids in the tractor bucket.

When he retired from P&G, that safety mindset carried over as he started helping his son, Jason, on Jason’s farm. People tend to associate farms with peaceful fields, fresh air, and contented cows, but as all farmers know, agriculture can be a dangerous way to make a living — and a farm is a dangerous place to live.

Between eight and 12 people, on average, are killed on farms every year in Ohio. Thousands more sustain injuries. “I became aware of farm injuries locally, statewide, and nationally, and I thought we could make a difference,” Russ says.

The Butterfield Family poses for a picture with their goat and pig.

Repeat? Why not!

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude and want determine how well you do.” Those words, adorning a motivational sign in the Butterfield family’s barn near Oxford, Ohio, have been undeniably effective.

Matt Butterfield’s 280-pound market barrow, named “Repeat,” was grand champion at the 2018 Ohio State Fair. The pig was so named because Butterfield’s previous pig, “Hollywood,” was grand champion at the 2017 fair. It was only the second time that someone had won back-to-back Ohio State Fair grand championships with pigs.

A picture of a moth against a white backdrop


In Ohio, there are an estimated 2,500 species of moths, compared to fewer than 140 butterfly species. An enthusiastic group of Ohio “moth-ers” (people who enjoy moths, rather than a maternal parent) is looking forward to celebrating these nighttime flyers during Mothapalooza, a bi-annual event taking place July 12 to 14 at Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center near West Portsmouth.

Lauren Schwab Eyre holds a baby pig and smiles for a picture.

Farm girl with curls

Lauren Schwab Eyre has carefully and intentionally cultivated her image as a “farm girl with curls.” She not only works on her family’s pig farm near Somerville, but she’s also a well-known agricultural ambassador who uses every opportunity she can to get the message out about her career of choice.

A lineworker stands in a bucket truck.

Stories of service

Electric cooperatives across Ohio join the nation this month in honoring veterans of the U.S. armed forces — America’s courageous protectors, defenders, and heroes. Not only do the co-ops acknowledge veterans’ dedication to our country, but we are truly grateful for the unique strengths and noble characteristics they bring to the co-op family.

We recognize all of our veteran-employees, and here, we talk to a few of them.

An individual hands back a card to a woman standing next to her daughter.

Keeping the connection: Co-ops find new ways to communicate

Somewhere among the archives belonging to Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Piqua is buried a postcard from a member notifying the cooperative that the power was out at his home.

“…So, the next time that you are out here, please check it out,” says Nanci McMaken, paraphrasing the document. McMaken, vice president and chief communications officer at Pioneer Electric, has seen lots of changes during her 36 years at the co-op, which serves 16,700 members in Champaign, Shelby, and Miami counties — but methods of communication has been a big one.