If you’ve ever traveled up north, visited a cabin or farm, gone camping or otherwise left town, there is a good chance you ventured into the parts of Minnesota served by electric cooperatives.

Among the seven principles that guide all co-ops is “concern for community.” Cooperatives are intertwined with the areas they serve because they were created by locals who envisioned a better way of life, and many co-op employees live in the communities they serve today.

Some 80 years after they were formed, electric cooperatives still power all the gathering places that make up a community: homes, schools and businesses, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Minnesota’s co-ops are integral to the industries that built Minnesota — agricultural/forest products, advanced manufacturing and mining — and are growing to serve new high-tech industries, such as data centers.

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