October 18, 2012

John Eggleston Honored with Co-op Association's Democracy Award

John Eggleston, Memphis, was honored with the Frank Stork Democracy Award for his legislative work on behalf of Missouri's Electric Cooperatives (AMEC). The award was presented October 5th at the 75th annual meeting of the association held in Branson.

The award is named for Frank Stork, former executive vice president of the association, who devoted most of his life to fighting legislative battles on behalf of Missouri's electric cooperatives. It is presented annually to someone who upholds these same ideals.

"We were born in politics. And we will die in politics without the eternal vigilance that was always the trademark of Frank Stork, for whom this award is named," said Barry Hart, CEO of the association. "So it is fitting that this award carry the name of that great man who did so much to ensure we do not die in politics. And it is also fitting this year's award go to someone who also devoted himself to the same cause, John Eggleston.

"John knows the daily challenges farmers face. His desire and passion for making a better life for rural people are evident in the path he chose by becoming involved with the cooperative way of business."

A dedication and commitment to working with his local electric cooperative, Northeast Power, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, POET Biorefining - Macon, Northeast Missouri Grain LLC, Missouri Renewable Fuels Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association prompted Eggleston's selection for this award.

A 38-plus year member of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Lancaster, Missouri, he was elected to the Tri-County Board of Directors in 1976 and completed his tenure at Tri-County in 2011, serving as president of the board. While at Tri-County, he represented its board at the local, state and national levels. He also served as the AMEC District II director and as a director on the AMEC Legislative and Government Relations Committee.

He earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate. In addition, he earned the NRECA Board Leadership certificate. Just as in farming, he promoted the cooperative motto of providing reliable and quality service at the lowest possible cost.

As a director for Tri-County, he realized the importance of political involvement and became a member of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives Political Action Committee. He became involved and well-known by both legislative parties at the state and national level.

He was elected to the Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative Board of Directors in 1999. He represented Northeast Power at the Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange meetings from 2006 to 2007 and as a director for AMEC from 2001 to 2002. He served as Northeast Power's Vice-President from 2004 to 2011.

His cooperative experience enhanced his leadership qualities and connected him to key people who later played an important role in supporting his vision for northeast Missouri. In the 1990s, farmers in northeast Missouri had no nearby outlet to market grain. Most of the grain from northeast Missouri was sold at harvest and shipped down river before winter took effect. Countless hours, money and miles were spent to promote the idea of a Missouri ethanol plant to skeptical farmers and investors.

In order to secure more investors, Northeast Missouri Grain Processors, Inc. (a cooperative) and a limited liability corporation known today as POET Biorefining - Macon, were formed. Eggleston serves both as president. The Macon plant produced its first ethanol in May 2000.

Today, this plant provides farmers with a place to deliver their product 12 months a year allowing them an income other than at harvest time. It creates jobs and opportunity. It provides a product for a cleaner environment and helps reduce America's dependency on foreign oil.

He didn't stop with the Macon plant, but was also instrumental in helping with a similar plant in Laddonia, which began operations in 2006. True to his nature, he serves as vice president of that plant.

In 2006, he played an important role in forming the Missouri Renewable Fuels Association, serving as the group's first president. This association exists to encourage the use of renewable fuels through political action and consumer education.

Eggleston is recognized by local, regional, state and national individuals and officials as a leader, someone with determination, and as someone knowledgeable and willing to assume responsibility for projects in which he believes. He diligently served Tri-County Electric Cooperative and its membership for 35 years and Northeast Power for 12 years. He was innovative in securing the ethanol plant in Macon and Ladonnia and in making decisions that have enhanced the lives of many throughout northeast Missouri.

John and his wife, Dee Dee, live near Memphis, where he is part owner/operator of Eggleston Farms, a corn, soybean and hay operation, and is the president of John and Dee Enterprises, a seed and electronic sales business.

He is a director for the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives, past director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association, a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau and a member of the Missouri Soybean Association.

The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives is the Jefferson City-based statewide service organization for Missouri's electric cooperatives.

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