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November 2019

A new updated Youth Fair Program Handbook has been released.

If you are part of the Youth Fair Program, you should download this handbook.

If you are interest in the Youth Fair Program, the handbook is a great source of information.

Download Handbook Now

Instead of reinventing the wheel, we are linking to the new edition of the California Granger, that features news, photo, resolutions adopted and more.

Download California Granger Now

Day 1 - In this Issue:

• Welcome to the 153rd Convention
• Little touches by host committee elevate event
• Master's Message: Off and running on the road to make history
• Fellows already hard at work to keep you in the know
• The Old Homestead

Download Day 1

Day 2 - In this Issue:

• Host Banquet sets tone for great week
• With this ring, I..... become an honorary delegate?
• Newly Elected Minnesota Master Serving as Honorary Delegate
• Grange expands horizons, serves as second

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Day 3 - In this Issue:

• Huber highlights accomplishments of Grange in 2019 in internal address
• Huber lauds work, sets delegates on course to look past recent challenges during external address
• Youth invite you to feel like a founder with donation
• At lunch, state Commissioner of Ag talks need for industry advocates and young blood in field
• Quilt block contest continues to be o' sew popular
• Masters Message: Get your Grange gear today at Store
• Young adults in Grange sometimes struggle to find place in Order
• Grange connects with 70,000 FFA members in Indy
• Location, dates of 2021 Grange Revival revealed
• 2020 theme highlights return to roots and everyday actions

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Day 4 - In this Issue:

• 13 members receive Quilts of Valor at moving ceremony
• Lunch speakers talk about need for rural perspective in D.C.
• Emergency causes 2 from California to serve as first-time delegates
• Legacy member complete first year as youth director
• Masters Message: "The future is present" with Youth arriving today
• 'Grange baby' looks back at what organization means for next generation
• Author meets, greets Grange to introduce new program
• Grange Store now open for shopping pleasure in Edina room

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October 2019



Grange Fly-In and Campaign for President

Mark your calendar for February 7-9, 2020 to come to New Hampshire and participate in the "First in the Nation" presidential primary. As has become a National Grange tradition, we will take the Grange Fly-In on the road to work on presidential campaigns of your choice the weekend prior to the first national primary balloting on Tuesday in New Hampshire. We will visit the historic N.H. state capital building in Concord, work on campaigns in Manchester, visit the headquarters for national and international media covering the candidates and campaigns, and look for opportunities to rub shoulders with the next President of the United States. In 2016, a major portion of participants were high school and college students, so grab your student and hold the dates of February 7-9. Watch for hotel reservations and additional information.

Agriculture and Food

Long-Awaited Hemp Rules

Everyone in the hemp chain from grower to processor to consumer has been anxiously waiting for the USDA regulations governing industrial hemp that were announced October 29. These regulations will govern the approval of plans submitted by states and Indian tribes for the domestic production of hemp by licensed growers. The rule lays out procedures for tracking land where hemp is grown, testing concentration levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient), disposal of non-compliant plants, and sharing information with law enforcement. Interested growers should contact their state department of agriculture for a license. In the meantime, growers of the 2019 hemp crop are struggling to find sufficient processing capacity.

Good Ozone News

The hole in the Earth's ozone layer has shrunk to the smallest size on record since it was discovered in 1982, according to scientists at NASA. The hole that naturally grows and shrinks every year due to temperatures in the Artic is determined to be a normal yearly phenomenon related to the ban on ozone-harming chemicals and not related to climate change.

Farm Finances Deteriorate

The Federal Reserve Bank says farm conditions continue to deteriorate across the country because of bad weather, weak commodity prices and trade disruptions. The upper Midwest seems to have suffered most where in addition to low prices, crop yields could decrease 10-20 percent.

Profile of New and Beginning Farmers

USDA's latest overview report of beginning farms and farmers finds:

• Beginning farmers are more likely to rely on off-farm income
• They are generally smaller and younger than established farms
• Beginning farmers have higher debt-to-asset ratios, are more likely to receive government payments, and to receive financing from FSA
• They tend to specialize in beef cattle and row crops.

Grange Supports Research

The National Grange continues to urge Congress to pass the America Grows Act, S.2458 and H.R 4174 introduced by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Bustos (D-IL). These bills authorize a 5 percent annual increase in USDA research funding for the next 5 years.

Health Care

Health Care Moves to Center Stage

At both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and most of the space between, drug prices, surprise medical bills, drug rebates, imported drugs, copays, premiums, Part D, Part B, Medicare for some and Medicare for all is Washington's elephant-in-the-room political footfall this Fall. The President has a plan, the Senate Finance Committee has a plan and House Speaker Pelosi has a plan. There are good and bad sections of all these plans, but they're far apart philosophically. Compromise is now a foreign language in Washington so a near-term end game is difficult to see. The National Grange will continue to fight for the good of patients as these plans unfold.

Patient First?

The National Grange joined the Academy of Physicians in Clinical Research in urging Congress to restore the patient as the central focus of their health care efforts. The Office of Inspector General at HHS found that in 2017, Part D beneficiaries experienced 84 million rejections when they tried to fill a prescription, but 73% of these denials were wholly or partially overturned when appealed. Unfortunately for patients with progressive, degenerative conditions the disease advances unchecked during the weeks or months the insurer drags out the appeal only to acknowledge the prescription should have been filled in the first place.

What About the Pay-For?

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, former members of Congress, former Cabinet officials, economists and other professionals committed to educating the public on issues with significant fiscal policy impact. The Committee found Medicare for All could be financed by largely unrealistic options such as:

• A 32%payroll tax
• A 25% income surtax
• A 42% value-added tax
• More than doubling individual and corporate tax rates
• An 80% reduction in non-health federal spending

"Cadillac Tax" Repeal

The National Grange is urging Senators to permanently repeal the 40% "Cadillac Tax" on employer sponsored health coverage. The bill, S.684, Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019 has 63 cosponsors in the Senate. The House passed a similar measure 419-6.

Immigration/AG Workforce

Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced their bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act to overhaul agriculture labor programs on October 30. The Ag Workforce Coalition worked with the sponsors on the legislation. The Act would allow ag workers to earn legal status, limit ag worker wage fluctuations, increase access to green cards, authorize year-round workers and establish a mandatory E-Verify system for ag workers.

Backing for the bill includes the United Farm Workers and most ag groups. The National Grange will work hard to get an ag worker bill through Congress and the White House.


STELAR Reauthorization

Approximately 870,000 Americans are not served by major broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act protects consumers by encouraging broadcasters to negotiate in good faith with satellite providers for national, regional and local programming. The National Grange is urging Congress to renew this important legislation to allow isolated rural areas to continue receiving pertinent and affordable programming.

Support for Lifeline Voice Service

National Grange is asking Senators to weigh in with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to urge the FCC to rethink their plans to eliminate full support for voice service until the FCC concludes its 2021 Lifeline Study. The FCC plans to drop support for voice services on December 31. A whopping 42 percent of Lifeline customers subscribe to plans that qualify based on their voice service offering.

Support for USDA ReConnect Program

National Grange joined multiple rural service providers to urge the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include $605 million in their Agriculture Appropriations Bill for the UDSA Broadband ReConnect Program. The House bill does include $605 million for ReConnect.


China Trade War Continues with Hope

By all accounts U.S. and Chinese negotiators plan to finish "phase one" of their trade deal by mid-November. The Administration maintains the deal includes Chinese pledges to purchase $40-$50 billion in U.S. agriculture commodities annually. The agriculture community is guardedly optimistic "phase one" can come to fruition but is anxiously awaiting final details. Analysts predict additional phases of the deal that lift tariffs and solve issues of technology and intellectual property are much more difficult to negotiate and will take much longer.

USMCA Close Yet so Far

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is set to replace the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA). USMCA has wide bipartisan backing along with industry and labor support, but a few members of Congress keep moving the goal posts. Mexico has already ratified the agreement and Canada has committed to complete their ratification process as soon as the U.S. House of Representatives brings it up for a vote. A vote by Thanksgiving is still possible.


None so empty of grace as he that thinks he is full. ~ Thomas Watson

Grace follows us even when we are going the wrong way. ~ Ricky Maye

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue. ~ Eugene O'Neill

Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace. ~ Jerry Bridges

Courage is grace under pressure. ~ Earnest Hemingway

Feedback and questions are welcome.

Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

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OCTOBER 18, 2019

Still time to decide to attend National Session

By Betsy E. Huber
National Grange President
The weather here in DC is still in the 60s and 70s so it is hard to believe we are past mid-October and only two weeks away from National Grange Convention! Advance registration has closed, but you can still register on-site at the DoubleTree Bloomington-Minneapolis South, November 5-9. It’s not too late to decide to attend!
Twenty-one out of our 33 State Granges hold their State Sessions in October, so it’s really a busy time for most Grangers— the wrap-up of the year’s activities and a new beginning. Let’s all pledge to make an extra effort to work for the Grange in the new year—increase activity, increase publicity, increase membership.
Our theme of “Grange Heroes in our Hometowns” is ending—although our heroic work is not— and we will have a new theme for 2020. I’m keeping it a secret until my Master’s Address on November 5th, so be sure to tune in to Facebook Live or watch your email to see what the new theme will be. It’s a good one!

National Grange Fly-In


2019 Men's Division Quilt
Block Contest

Last Call for Lecturer's Contest, Items

Impact of U.S. Foreign Aid at Home ‘Too Often Overlooked’

We have crested the middle of October hill and are sliding down the back side to November and straight into our 153rd annual convention in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you intend to participate, and I do hope you will, it is time to get a move on.

An op-ed recently published in Agri-Pulse, written by Peter McPherson, who serves as the President of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, addressed the issue of foreign aid and it’s benefits at home.


The Grange Teams up with Oliver the Ornament

Evening of Excellence

Oliver the Ornament is a 7-book series and related gift line that celebrates the tradition and stories of Christmas ornaments.


The Evening of Excellence is a showcase for Grange talent. Each State Grange Best of Show entry will receive $100.


Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

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OCTOBER 11, 2019


By Betsy E. Huber
National Grange President

I am continually awed by the beauty God created in this world. As I travel to different parts of the country the scenery is very different but all so beautiful. This week I had the opportunity to attend Degree Day at Freedom Plains Grange, NY, presented by Duchess County Pomona. The teams did an excellent job presenting the first five degrees with a wonderful dinner and fellowship in between. This Grange is located directly north of New York City. The next day I drove east to west across the entire state of New York, (6.5 hours,) to Buffalo to visit a hotel being considered for a future convention. The highway for quite some distance followed the Erie Canal, a marvel of engineering that opened up transportation and commerce for much of the region. The trees are beginning to change colors, and through the rain, sun, showers, and even a rainbow, the scenery was beautiful.

October 12 is the Last Day to Register for Convention, Meals

You may still register for convention on-site after Oct. 12, but there will be a late fee and no meal tickets will be available for purchase.


North Carolina Granger Recognized for Connecting Consumer with Farmer

Reprinted from

In between pruning in the vineyard and the beginning of this year’s honey flow, farmer David Allen is preparing for the opening of the new farm store at Tranquility Farm in Mooresville, North Carolina. Allen’s impact in local food is rooted in selling farm products directly to customers.
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Texts Keep Members Informed, Will Remind of Live Events from 153rd Convention
Members are encouraged to text the GRANGE to the number 24365 to sign up for automated alerts about contest and program deadlines, information about advocacy opportunities and much more.

Lecturer's Reminder

Grange members and friends, it is time to quit procrastinating and to act! There are just a couple of weeks left to submit your public relations items and your quilt blocks. Guys, I am especially looking for more quilt blocks from you! Check out the National Grange website for all the details and entry forms.

News Briefs

USDA invests $152M in high speed internet - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced this week that USDA is investing $152 million in 19 projects (PDF, 121 KB) to provide or improve rural broadband service in 14 states.

$16.2M in grants set aside for disadvantaged, veteran farmers - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week it will issue $16.2 million in grants (PDF, 325 KB) to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers.

Specialty crop research awarded $11M by USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins announced today that the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has invested $11 million in research that will support specialty crop farmers.

Download To READ MORE

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

Download Now for more information




Grange Insurance Association (GIA) Chairman of the Board, D. Thomas McKern, is pleased to announce that GIA will again fund 25 scholarships for the 2020 – 2021 school year, totaling $33,500. In addition, GIA is honored to award the $1,000 Paul and Ethel Holter Memorial Scholarship, funded by a gift of Mrs. Holter’s estate, and the $1,000 Dee and Ina McKern Memorial Scholarship, funded by a gift from the McKern family.

Applicants may apply for either an academic or a vocational scholarship. Three of the awards will be for students wishing to pursue vocational studies and 22 awards will be for academic studies. The top winner in each category will receive a $2,500 award and the remaining winners will receive $1,000 - $2,000 each.

Eligibility requirements (applicants must meet one of the following):
1. Current GIA policyholder (or children of GIA policyholder)
2. Children of current GIA company employees
3. A previous recipient of a GIA scholarship

Please note that children or legal wards of officers, directors or agents of GIA are ineligible. These scholarships may be used at any institution offering courses leading to a certificate or a degree in a recognized profession or vocation, including: community colleges, business colleges and technical institutes. Vocational scholarships are aimed specifically for those students not pursuing a college diploma, but seeking further education and/or training in a vocation often not covered by more traditional colleges or universities.

The committee will base its awards on the following:
 Complete and legible application
 Scholastic ability (official grade transcript required)
 Handwritten or typed Essay by Applicant
 Please tell us about yourself, your family and your future goals
 Also include any leadership or volunteer-related programs or projects in which you have been involved in high school, in the community, or elsewhere
 What college, university, or trade school do you plan to attend and how will this scholarship assist you

Application deadline is March 1, 2020. (Postmarked) Funds awarded for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please complete the following request form for an application for a Grange Insurance

Association Scholarship:

SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE Please send a GIA Scholarship

Application to: GRANGE INSURANCE ASSOCIATION Attn: Scholarship Coordinator Name: P.O. Box 21089 Address: Seattle, WA 98111-3089


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144th Annual Session, Oct 12-15, 2019.

Packing List.

Your State Grange Convention Packing List:
1. You
2. Friends
3. Basket of local goodies for Raffle.
4. Tropical Attire for Sunday
5. Your Super Hero Super Power for Monday
6. Grange Expo Entries
7. Talent for the "Grange's Got Talent!!"
8. Project Posters/Photos for an Idea Exchange
9. Listening ear for our guest speakers;

Emily Luncombe, “Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change”

Trathen Heckman, Daily Acts

Jeff Skinner, California State Grange Attorney

Brian Weller, California State Grange Strategic Plan Facilitator

Tom McKern, President Board of Directors, Grange Insurance Association

Susan Noah, National Grange Executive Committee Member

And the last item is: FUN and LAUGHTER!! __

"What happens at State Grange Convention? Why should I attend?"

Answer: You come away with a deeper understanding of what the Grange is. We work on resolutions to help guide legislation as a benefit for all communities. We have competitions and talent shows. We make new friends, exchange ideas, and network. Grange is the place where we can have a really good debate over an issue. The majority vote is upheld, and if situations change the next year, it can be brought back again to further educate and elevate our members. The Grange continues to evolve to meet the needs of the members and the citizens in our communities. Be a part of something special.


Rincon Valley Grange Hall
5055 Rincon Ave, Santa Rosa, CA

From the intersection of Hwy 12 and Calistoga Road, follow Calistoga Road north for 1.7 miles. Turn left on to Rincon Avenue. Signs will be out to help you find it.



Agriculture and Food

So We Can Eat Red Meat?

A large group of international researchers say yes in a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The international collaboration of experts says evidence that red meat causes cancer and heart disease is weak at best. The new analyses are among the largest evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. The analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat. "The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn't," says Dennis Bier, director of the Children's Nutrition Research center at Baylor College of Medicine. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and T.H.Chan School of Public Health at Harvard have expressed criticism of the new analyses. On a cautionary note, some dietary advocates are bringing climate change and environmental concerns into the diet and health debate. These are two entirely separate issues.

What Should Young Children Drink?

A consensus of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association says plain unflavored, unsweetened, uncarbonated drinking water is the best way to quench a child's thirst (sounds like your grandmother's advice?). Sugary drinks, diet drinks and plant-based toddler milk should be avoided. Children 12-24 months old should be introduced to plain pasteurized whole milk they say.

What About That Plant-Based Burger?

In what could be called a classic "me too" marketing case study, restaurants, fast food chains, branded food companies and grocery stores are jumping on the meatless meat bandwagon. Plant-based eating, however, may not mean vegetables, fruits, chick peas and nuts as we have long presumed. Food manufacturers are developing ultra-processed burgers out of pea or soy protein, methylcellulose and maltodextrin, and liquid "eggs" out of mung bean protein isolate and gellan gum. With almost everyone in the food industry jumping into the market at once, this will be a good test of sustainable consumer demand.

Food Insecurity Drops

Defined as those who "had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all members of their families due to lack of resources," food insecure households have declined to prerecession levels, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. The decline from a high of 14.9% in 2011 to 11.1% in 2018 is good news. Most food insecure households surveyed had recently participated in federal nutrition assistance programs like SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch Program.

EPA and Corps Scrap WOTUS Rule

The EPA and Corps of Engineers are formally repealing the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule in advance of publishing a new WOTUS rule in a few months. This action makes pre-2015 Clean Water Act regulations the law of the land. This is welcome news for farmers, ranchers, landowners and local government jurisdictions. Post 2015 WOTUS regulations greatly overstepped the authority of the Clean Water Act according to several court rulings.

Grange Urges Ag Research Support

The National Grange, together with a huge number of agriculture, food and supplier groups, asked leaders of the Senate appropriations committees and subcommittees to support and fund the America Grows Act sponsored by Illinois Senator Durban. The Act authorizes a five percent inflation- adjusted annual increase for research to keep our nation a world leader in food and agricultural science.

Health Care

Rural Hospitals in Trouble

Rural America is facing an access-to-health-care crisis: 113 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. This alert was conveyed to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden by the National Grange and members of the Rebuild Rural Coalition. The coalition urged the leaders to adopt policies to stop payment cuts such as Medicare sequestration cuts and bad-debt cuts, and to invest in sustainable new delivery models which give local communities flexibility to meet the needs of their unique rural community. The coalition stressed that rural broadband infrastructure is a must for future rural health care.

Excise Tax Hurts Medical Device Innovation

The National Grange joined a large group of innovators and patient groups on a letter to Senate and House leaders requesting Congress to permanently repeal excise taxes on medical devices before the current suspension expires on December 31, 2019. Prior to suspension, the medical device tax had a devastating effect on device R&D the three years it was in effect.

Congress and White House Focus on Drug Price Legislation

The price of prescription drugs las long been a growing concern of patients, particularly those on high cost specialty drugs. Now the House, the Senate and the President have elevated drug prices to a public policy priority. The Senate Finance Committee passed a bipartisan package in July without the support of a majority of Republicans on the committee. Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership introduced a sweeping partisan legislative package, H.R. 3, on September 9. President Trump says he wants to see drug prices drop at the pharmacy counter and is focusing on numerous administrative changes to be undertaken by HHS. Drug pricing is a confusing process and the chain between manufacturer and patient has become complicated. As Washington works through the drug pricing dilemma, the National Grange will continue to sort the good, the bad and the ugly of the various proposals with the patient in mind.

Immigration/AG Workforce

The Labor Department has taken steps to administratively streamline the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. A new rule eliminates the requirement to advertise job openings in print newspapers and shifts to advertising on DOL and state workforce agency websites. A second DOL action will update and simplify H-2A forms and its online filing process.


Rural Areas Still Need Satellite TV

In rural America, 870,000 households still rely on satellite to access basic broadcast programming in places where over-the-air signals can't reach. The National Grange sent a formal letter to the committees of jurisdiction on the Hill to request congressional action to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR) before it expires on December 31, 2019. STELAR calls for good-faith negotiations between broadcasters and satellite providers to prevent customers from experiencing programming "blackouts".

Rural Broadband Needs Mixed Technology

The Des Moines Register featured an article by National Grange president Betsy Huber reiterating that over 19 million Americans lack access to broadband and many more cannot access the internet at today's broadband speeds. Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission took a strong step toward removing regulatory barriers to wider deployment of TV White Spaces in rural areas. "The National Grange supports a mixed technology model to eliminate the rural broadband gap. Our goal is to build connected farms of the future," Huber says.


Japanese Trade Deal Good for Agriculture

American agricultural products are among the biggest beneficiaries of United States-Japan Trade Agreement signed on September 25 which goes into effect January 1. Japan agreed to cut or eliminate tariffs on $7.2 billion worth of ag commodities and raise new quota levels for more. National Grange president Betsy Huber issued a statement calling the agreement a big win for agriculture producers, and "It will give farmers and ranchers more access to our country's third largest food and agricultural export market."

USMCA Gains Traction

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is gaining political ground in Washington. House Speaker Pelosi appointed a group of House Democrats who have been meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to resolve labor and environmental differences with Mexico and pharmaceutical patent concerns with both countries. All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since the Reagan Administration - Block, Espy, Glickman, Veneman, Johanns, Schafer, Vilsack - announced strong support for USMCA in a press conference and with a letter to congressional leaders.

Tariff War with China Continues

The U.S. and China remain at loggerheads over intellectual property rights, technology concerns and trade imbalances. Tariff escalation continues on both sides. In the meantime, China is buying large amounts of American ag commodities and has committed to buy more. Talks between the two countries broke off this summer but are scheduled to resume in early October.


The current definition of an agricultural commodity has become an issue in drafting new hours of service regulations for truckers. Agriculture commerce has changed over the years and the definitions of ag commodities have not kept pace. The National Grange joined state and national commodity groups and trucking associations in official comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggesting workable definitions for commodities and livestock in transit under new hours of service rules.


I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze. The sweet chill of pumpkin, and crisp sunburnt leaves. ~ Ann Drake

No spring or summer beauty has such grace as I have seen in one autumn face. ~ John Donne

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. ~ Edwin Way Teale

Winter is an etching, spring a water color, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ~ Stanley Horowitz

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

Download This Issued Now

Saturday, October 12, 2019

9AM – Registration Opens / Expo open to receive entries

10:00 AM Welcome from Kent Westwood, State Master/President


Resolutions – Inside the Grange System.

Grange Essentials – What they are and how to use them.

Lunch – on your own

1:30 pm KEYNOTE SPEAKER Emily Lunscombe: “Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change”

3:30 PM Day of Excellence – Talent Contest

Dinner – on your own

7:00PM – Opening of the 144th Annual Session in the 6th Degree

Presentation of the 5th Degree of Pomona and 6th Degree of Flora

Closing of the Grange

Sunday, October 13, 2019

California Casual - In honor of State Master/President Kent Westwood - wear your favorite Tropical attire!!

8:30 AM Registration Opens

Day Includes:

Memorial Service

Resolution Processing

State Master’s Annual Address

Jeff Skinner, Important Legal Updates

2020 Budget

* Nomination & Election of Officers: State Master, State Overseer, and State Executive Committee Member (3 years)

Strategic Plan - Review and Adoption

Monday, October 14, 2019

8:30 "A Day of Heroes" Wear something to show off your own Superpower!!

8:30 AM Registration opens

Day Includes:

Resolution Committee Reports

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Susan Noah, National Grange Executive Committee Member

Salute to Veterans And more!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

8:30 AM Opening of the State Grange in the 4th Degree

Completion of business

Resolution of Appreciation

Installation of Officers

1PM Closing of the 144th Annual Session

Schedule subject to change

September 2019


SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Hotel Reservation Deadline Ends SEPTEMBER 27, 2019!

TODAY is the deadline to reserve your hotel room at the Grange rate. I would love to see all of you there! BOOK YOUR ROOM By SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Master's Message: There's still time to register for Convention

Here we are already at the end of September and five days into Fall. There are only 37 days left until the opening of the 153rd National Grange Convention, November 5th in Bloomington, MN. I would love to see all of you there! Online registration ends Oct. 12. Meal tickets WILL NOT be available for purchase in Minneapolis.

Food Waste takes center stage at Grange’s Farm Aid booth; program available for all Granges to use

State leaders and national staff attended Farm Aid in East Troy, Wisconsin, introducing the Grange to a large number of the more than 30,000 event attendees. Wisconsin State Grange Vice President Duane Scott, dressed as a browning banana, tested attendees’ knowledge of food waste and provided them tips and tricks on how to reduce waste in their homes.

Oliver the Ornament author to attend convention, sign books

The National Grange partnered with the author of the children’s books that focus on anti-bullying and kindness. As part of that partnership, Author Todd Zimmerman will be at convention for a Q & A and throughout the day outside the Showcase to sign books.

Grange issues statement on Pelosi’s drug pricing package

“Every day, rural Americans encounter a multitude of obstacles when it comes to accessing basic health care and treatments. Unfortunately, this new proposal does nothing to address the challenges facing these patients” the Grange said.

Grange sends letter encouraging Congress to reauthorize local broadcast act

“Rural residents should not be needlessly punished and their access to network entertainment should not be curtailed because they live in a less convenient area to service,” the Grange said.

Deadlines in Spotlight

Membership Display Contest
Sept. 30, 2019

Junior Community Service Reports
Oct. 1, 2019
Entry Form

All Lecturer's Contest/Programs including quilt block & PR contest
Oct. 31, 2019
Entry Form

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!

Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.

1-800-868-2330 | or email

Download Now for more information


Yes, that big national television show is finished for the season, but that doesn't mean your Grange can't showcase your talented members. The California State Grange Talent Show is scheduled for 3:30 PM on Saturday October 12, 2019 at Rincon Valley Grange, 5055 Rincon Ave, Santa Rosa, CA. There are 3 classes: Instrumental, Variety, and Vocal. Best of Show earns the opportunity to represent California at the National Grange Session in Minnesota in November. Please preregister with California State Grange Lecturer Katie Squire as soon as possible: see below.

Kind regards,

Katie Squire, Lecturer

Contact Katie

AB857 - Public Banking

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

AB 857, the Public Banking Act, has passed both the California State Senate and Assembly with our support and now sits on the Governor’s desk for his signature. There is concern that he may not sign it without people from all over the state pressuring him to give Californians a chance to create banks which serve their needs with no shareholder profits in mind. This means money placed in accounts locally will be invested locally, helping to recirculate dollars over and over again where they were originally earned. Please take a moment to write Governor Newsom. One of our partners supporting AB 857 (Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa) has made this easy: Let's remind the governor he expressed support for public banking on the 2018 campaign trail when he declared: "We must break Wall Street’s choke hold on state finance and develop our own state bank." We need all supporters to email the Governor via his website.

Email the Governor using the button below

(Where the form asks you to choose a subject, scroll down to "AB00857\Public banks.")

If you're crafting your own message, try to incorporate three important points: 1) AB 857 is safe, sound and solid policy, 2) The bill has widespread popular support, 3) Gently remind the Governor he stated his support for public banking in 2018.

Thank you for letting the Governor know that the California State Grange Members are active citizens working for the betterment of their communities.

Michael Evenson, Legislative Director

California State Grange

(707) 629-3506

Contact Govenor Newsom


SEPTEMBER 20, 2019


By Betsy E. Huber | National Grange President

I’ve recently been visiting hotels to identify a site for the 2023 National Grange Convention in the North East Region and I thought you might be interested in the steps that go into selecting a location.

We have begun this year working with an outside convention planner who sends out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hotels in cities in the region. We’re open to suggestions and recommendations from State Masters in the Region.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.

By Samantha Wilkins | National Grange Junior Grange Director

Sometimes it’s hard to know the exact formula to help a child succeed, but we all can agree that knowledge is power. The Junior Grange passport program provides an opportunity for our youngest members to learn about a variety of subjects and continue traditions of Grangers throughout the past century and a half. The Junior Grange department is seeking help from members across the country in developing new passports - short lessons providing steps Juniors can go through to learn about specific topics.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


The National Junior Grange is proud to announce five candidates for the 2020 Ambassador. The candidates are Carlie Conrady of Oklahoma, Bryce Danko of Pennsylvania, David Lehmann of Massachusetts, Sarah Jacoby of Iowa and Brianna Gervais of Connecticut.

This year’s Youth Officer Team will meet with the National Grange Officer Corps on for an exclusive meet and greet where they will talk to their officer counterpart and others about what it takes to perform their duties throughout the year and how the Grange has been part of their lives from Youth age on.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


Grange in Action
Sept. 25, 2019

Membership Display Contest
Sept. 30, 2019

Junior Community Service Reports
Oct. 1, 2019

All Lecturer's Contest/Programs including quilt block & PR contest
Oct. 31, 2019

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

Download Now for more information

Speakers Announced for: SustainAbility - 144th Annual Session of the California State Grange

Join us for the 144th Annual Session of the California State Grange at the Rincon Valley Grange Hall, 5055 Rincon Ave., Santa Rosa CA. October 12-15

Scheduled speakers include:

Emily Luscombe: "Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change"

Jeff Skinner, Schiff, Hardin, Attorney's at Law: Legal Updates

Susan Noah, National Grange Executive Committee Member and Oregon State Grange Master/President.

And more.....

Don't miss out on the fun!!!

Registration Deadline is October 1st. Don't be left out!

Dates: October 12-15, 2019

Location: Rincon Valley Grange Hall, 5055 Rincon Ave, Santa Rosa, CA

Get Registration Form Here!!


SEPTEMBER 13, 2019

By Amanda Brozana-Rios | National Grange Communications Director

This past weekend I was blessed to attend the Iowa State Grange 150th Annual Convention. Held in Kellogg, the group that gathered turned out to truly have that “good Grange spirit” all through their bones that was contagious.

They also paid homage to the man to first bring Grange to Iowa - Andrew Failor - who organized Newton Grange #1. Instead of holding the traditional memorial service on Sunday of their session, they held a graveside service from the Grange manual, a ceremony that had not been conceived as Failor and others began their Grange journey.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.

By Amanda Brozana-Rios
National Grange Communications Director

Several members traveling to and from Grange Revival in Ozark, Arkansas, in July found a fun way to incorporate agritourism and savings into their journeys.

Duane and Chris Hamp from Spokane, WA, and Barbara, Roland and Kasey Giguere, of Shelburne, MA, had purchased memberships for the Harvest Hosts program, which has more than 825 partner sites across the U.S. and Canada that allow members to stay one night free on the property of an agriculturally-oriented business.

Because of their positive feedback, the National Grange reached out to Harvest Host and has secured a 20% off discount for all Grange members.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


Grange in Action
Sept. 25, 2019

Membership Display Contest
Sept. 30, 2019

Junior Community Service Reports
Oct. 1, 2019

All Lecturer's Contest/Programs including quilt block & PR contest
Oct. 31, 2019

Download Now for more information




By Betsy Huber | National Grange President

Last week I wrote about the invasive insect pest Spotted Lanternfly which has the potential to severely impact grapes, fruit trees, hardwoods, and other crops, and is already in the Mid-Atlantic states. This week I will tell you about an even worse threat to American agriculture.

African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and wild pigs of all ages. ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. It is not a food safety issue.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


This is the season when students nationwide are headed back to school. Unfortunately, millions of students will start the school year still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. With your help, we can advocate for solutions to improve the pace and scale of broadband deployments in underserved communities nationwide.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


Rural communities across the country will celebrate the inaugural Rural Homecoming Oct. 18-20 by hosting events and engaging members of their community as part of a national movement that is rooted in local connections. Rural community across the country are invited to participate, free of charge.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


Setting up an online payment platform can allow your Grange to collect dues on a semi-annual or quarterly basis, which can be an incentive to someone looking to join the Grange who may not carry checks or have a large chunk of single-time disposable income.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


On Friday, June 14, 60 members and guests attended the regular monthly meeting of Turkey Hill Grange #1370 (IL). The program consisted of celebrating Flag Day and honoring military veterans. Quilts of Valor were awarded to three special veterans for their service to our country.

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


Many of our Granges have record books dating back to their founding that includes dues payments made by members. Even today, collecting dues is a major part of any Grange Secretary’s job.

If we are being frank, our dues collection system is antiquated, with members paying a lump sum by cash or check once a year. What if we could offer our members the option to pay their dues semi-annually or monthly with an electronic platform?

To read more, see link at bottom of page.


The 10th issue of Good Day!™ magazine will soon be in mailboxes of subscribers across the country and available for single-issue purchase through the Grange Supply Store at

This issue provides detailed coverage of the first Grange Revival held this summer and details about a new partnership that provides a member discount for those who like to travel by RV. It also has several policy-oriented pieces and a look at the good work of Granges, just to name a few.

“We cannot wait to open our mailbox when we know it’s on the way and find a new issue,” Melanie Bostwick, of Kansas, said recently. “It’s such an uplifting magazine - one of the best things out of National Grange that shows off our organization.”

If you have not yet subscribed, do so today! For only $16 annually, you will receive this quarterly high-quality publication with information relevant to members and of interest to those who have not yet joined the Grange.

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

Download Now to read full issue.

August 2019


August 2019 WRAP-UP

Agriculture and Food

Hemp Farmers -Be Enthusiastic but Cautious

New hemp farmers should be excited about the huge potential of industrial hemp ranging from medical uses to bioplastics, chemicals, fuels, paper and animal feed. But they are advised to proceed with caution. That's the advice USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach gave to the National Industrial Hemp Council recently. Lots of regulatory work must be done before hemp can be a commonplace commodity option for producers. Ibach has been working with numerous other federal agencies to develop rules and regulations to fully legalize production, sale and interstate commerce. This new regulatory framework should be in place this fall to include testing requirements, farm inspections and the destruction procedures for any hemp crop that tests above 0.3 percent THC. In the meantime, the FDA is moving as rapidly as possible to issue regulations but says it is moving cautiously because there is still too much we don't know about CBD such as cumulative exposure risks and long term effects.

Cities like Denver, Colorado are selling CBD-infused beer, food and dog treats. But an American Herbal Products Association conference there recently heard FDA's concern about unsubstantiated heath claims that CBD cured everything from Alzheimer's to cancer. It is prohibited to add CBD to food at this time because there is a significant amount of data needed to understand the effects on human exposure and the long term effects of regular consumption.

Another Court Finds "Waters of the U.S." Rule Legally Deficient

A federal district court in Georgia has ruled the EPA and Corps of Engineers overreached their jurisdiction in asserting federal authority over activities in interstate waters, tributaries and adjacent waters. The judge found the WOTUS rule's vast expansion of jurisdiction over waters and land traditionally within states' regulatory authority cannot stand absent a clear statement from Congress (congressional intent) in the Clean Water Act. Since no such statement has been made, the WOTUS rule is unlawful under the CWA according to the court.

Grange Supports Ag Research

The National Grange sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate agriculture and appropriations committees in support of the American Growers Act unveiled by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in early August. He intends to formally introduce the bill with cosponsors in September. The Act would authorize a five-year 5% inflation-adjusted annual agriculture research funding increase for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Economic Research Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Presidential Candidates Pay Attention to Ag

Democratic presidential candidates are beginning to court agriculture more than usual as they roll out farm policy platforms to woo voters in Iowa. Senator Bernie Sanders has a sweeping 10-year plan to carry out the Green New Deal and reshape U.S. agriculture through regulations and subsidies to reduce its environmental impact and push farmers into smaller scales of production and organic methods. Specifically he would pay farmers to capture carbon in soil through environmental practices, pay states to develop food recovery systems, transition large-scale confinement animal feeding operations into "ecologically regenerative practices", pay urban and suburban dwellers to transform their lawns into food-producing or reforested space that sequesters carbon and saves water, and bring back Depression-era supply management and grain reserves to prop up commodity prices and cut food waste. Senator Elizabeth Warren's ag proposal would break up big corporations such as meat packers and pesticide manufacturers, encourage climate-friendly practices, control overproduction, guarantee prices at the cost of production (known as "parity"), and rely upon the government to stabilize the market by storing surpluses. Senator Amy Klobuchar takes a more moderate approach to focus on expanding farm support programs, tie farm subsidies to the cost of production, increase the portion of crop insurance premiums covered by taxpayers and expand rural jobs. The one common theme of all Democratic candidates from top to bottom of the polls is climate change and that farmers will benefit from addressing it.

Health Care

Where are Seniors' Drug Rebates and Discounts Going?

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) addresses the growth of manufacturer discounts and rebates in the Medicare Part D program. Patient costs for health care have become a focus of public policy on the Hill and in the Administration. Patients are intended to share in the $166 billion in rebates and discounts biopharmaceutical companies pay to insurance companies, the government, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and others in the drug supply chain. Here are some facts about the report's findings.
• The bulk of these savings are not reaching America's seniors at the pharmacy counter. Insurance companies say they use rebates and discounts to keep premiums low. But a Kaiser Family Foundation February poll found a majority of seniors said a lower copay for prescription drugs at the pharmacy was more important than lower insurance premiums.

• The three largest PBMs own or are owned by insurance companies. The lion's share of PBM rebates are passed through to insurance companies. But the PBM and insurance markets are heavily integrated as evidenced by CVS Caremark's merger with Aetna, Express Scripts ownership by Cigna and OptumRx ownership by United Healthcare.
• Fees paid to PBMs have quadrupled in the past two years. Regardless of whether they pass rebates to insurers, Part D is a significant revenue stream for PBMs.

The National Grange continues to work with other patient groups to find ways to reduce the price of prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter.

Canadian Patients Who Cannot Wait Come to America

The Fraser Institute reports that 63,000 Canadians left their country to have surgery in 2016. The Canadian universal health care system is often referred to by proponents of nationalized or socialized health care. Surgeries in both Canada and the United States are normally scheduled after patients are seen by the surgeon after first being referred by their own physician. In the U.S., 70% of patients were seen by specialists within four weeks after referral whereas in Canada less than 40% were seen in four weeks. After being advised a procedure is necessary, 61% of Americans had their surgery within a month compared to only 31% of Canadians. Our American health care system needs to be improved and made more cost effective. However, the Canadian system may not be the best model to follow.


AT&T and T-Mobile Team Up to Counter Robocalls

AT&T and T-Mobile working together have begun to deliver caller authentication technology that works across both their networks. This is an important first step toward industry-wide call verification. Nearly 48 billion robocalls were received by U.S. mobile customers last year. Unwanted robocall attempts will continue but caller verification will help customers better decide which calls to answer or ignore. A call that is "spoofed" showing a faked number will fail the SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID verification and will not be marked as verified. Conversely, verification will confirm a call is coming from the identified number.

Future Farming Will Demand 5G Wireless Internet Service An op-ed by National Grange President Betsy Huber and published by Agri-Pulse says that expanding wireless internet access in rural areas will continue to fuel the truly game-changing advances made by precision agriculture. These include new ways to grow crops by using less water, seed, fertilizer and pesticides. Made possible by a faster mobile internet, precision agriculture will continue to support new innovations like driverless tractors, robots and drones which are already increasingly handling farming tasks.

Keep Voice Services in the Lifeline Program

In a letter to the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Grange President Betsy Huber urged the Commission to maintain support for Lifeline voice services at the December 1, 2018 levels and to not eliminate support for voice services as proposed for 2021. Many senior, handicapped and veteran rural Americans still depend upon voice services to access health care, contact social services agencies, find jobs and keep connected to family and friends. The Washington Post recently published a letter to the editor from Crystal Rhoades, a member of the Nebraska Public Service Commission, who pointed out that federal Lifeline program smartphones are the simplest and most efficient way to connect low income Americans. She says she relied on Lifeline to gain a solid footing and pursue her education as a single parent.


Some Good News

During the recent G7 summit in France, President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan announced they had reached an agreement in principle to lower Japanese tariffs and increase market share for U.S. agricultural commodities. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who led the negotiations says the new deal will eventually pave the way for an additional $7 billion in agricultural exports to Japan. The agreement is expected to be a major benefit for beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, ethanol and a variety of other products. Earlier in August, Lighthizer announced a deal whereby the U.S. would get exclusive access to a large portion (80%) of Europe's tariff rate quota for beef. The agreement is expected to go into effect later this fall following European Parliament approval.

Some Bad News

The economic effects of the trade war with China that affected so much of agriculture is now spreading through the American landscape. True, it is a war that needed to be fought to curtail China's monetary and intellectual property shenanigans that threaten so much American business. But trade wars take their toll on both countries and this one is no different. High tariffs and more expensive goods cut into the economies of both countries. More tariff escalation is set to go into effect September 1. In the meantime, President Trump has announced that talks will resume with China. Our best analysis is...."Stay tuned".

Hold the Date for the Fly-IN

Mark your calendars for the tentative dates of February 7-8, 2020 for the "First in the Nation" presidential primary in New Hampshire. The National Grange has traditionally held its fly-in every four years in New Hampshire to allow Grangers to participate in the presidential campaigns of the candidates of their choice. It has proven to be an outstanding experience for Grange youth and young adults. Note: If another state sets their primary earlier than February 11, New Hampshire will adjust their date to match it in order to continue their "First in the Nation" legacy.

Early Bird Registration Ends Sept. 1

Don't Delay Register Today!

There's still time to register for the 153rd Annual National Grange Convention. Register and submit your payment by Sept. 1 to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration and save $5.

NOTE: Meal tickets will not be available for purchase if you register on site so please plan ahead.



If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best possible substitute for it. ~ James A. Garfield.

I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had. ~ J.K. Rowling

Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade? ~ Benjamin Franklin

To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work. ~ Sister Mary Lauretta

Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God. ~ Leo Buscaglia

Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is Man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. ~ John Wooten

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email Conceit is self-given. Be careful. ~ John Wooten

Download This Issue

AUGUST 23rd 2019 ISSUE


There is a new invasive pest threatening agriculture—the Spotted Lanternfly. This leafhopper was first discovered almost five years ago in Berks County, Pennsylvania, having been introduced to the U.S. from China, Vietnam, or India where it is native. Strict quarantine regulations have slowed the spread and limited the infestation to Pennsylvania and some surrounding counties, but it may soon spread across the U.S.
Starting in the Winter 2019/20 (V3I4) issue of Good Day!, we will welcome new members into our Order whose information has been submitted online. Anyone can submit this information, not just Subordinate Secretaries. We hope you all will help to make sure new members feel welcome and connected to the Grange immediately upon joining.
Please use the following link to ensure new members for all of 2019 are recognized in the next issue and keep up throughout the year as you welcome new Brothers and Sisters into your Grange.

LIFT UP YOUR HANDS 20 Songs in Sign Language. $1.50 each. Order Now!

Contest Deadlines - Use download link to get application/forms




GRANGE IN ACTION Sept. 25, 2019



ALL LECTURER’S CONTESTS/PROGRAMS Including quilt block & PR contest Oct. 31, 2019

Holiday Greeting Cards

including Thanksgiving Cards, Birthday, Thank You & Sympathy Cards.

Napkins & Coasters, Business Stationery.

Can be ordered at Gragne Store Now!

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!

Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc. 1-800-868-2330 | or email APPAREL | PROMOTIONAL ITEMS l JEWELRY REGALIA | FUND RAISING PROGRAMS

Download Now for more information


New Item Available in Supply Store

The 2018 Journal of Proceedings from the 152nd Annual Convention, Stowe, VT, is now available in a softbound edition. Also available are JOP issues from 2013 – 2017.

Get Ready, They're Coming
The 2019 National Grange Communication Fellows have begun work and work they will for the next few months and hopefully well beyond on behalf of the Grange at all levels

Grangers Enjoy Back to School Savings
It is that time of the year for back to school sales and Grange members can cash in on savings offered exclusively through our partnership with Lenovo.

Letter from the National Lecturer
The first Grange Revival was fantastic and exactly what we hoped it would be – a great gathering of Grangers intent on having fun, learning, sharing ideas, making new friends and spending quality time with old friends. Oh, and eating – lots and lots of eating! Duane and I traveled over 4,300 miles round-trip which included 11 BIG states and we saw the most amazing natural wonders, learned a ton of American history, visited with cherished friends and laughed and smiled at the most quirky of roadside attractions. We’d do it all again tomorrow in a heartbeat if I could figure out how to work from the road.

Please keep your eyes open for information about the next Grange Revival in 2021 and plan on joining us for a Grange experience like none other.
Quilt of Valor Presentation

Searching of Grange Veterans or active-duty personnel who will be present at the National Grange Convention in Bloomington, MN the evening of Wed., Nov. 6th and who have NOT yet been presented with a quilt through the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Quilt Block Contest

Remember, the National Grange Quilt Block Contest is open to members and non-members alike. Also, there is a junior division for those 5-13 years of age and we just added a men’s division in addition to the adult division

Public Relations Contest

This contest is less about the contest and more about the sharing of ideas – ideas for both events as well as ways to advertise. Please share EVERY flyer, poster, Facebook event notice, etc. that you create to advertise your Grange.


Membership Contest
Deadline: Sept. 30
The goal of this contest is to create a display promoting your Grange and to use it in the community your Grange serves. Grange displays should promote the active role your Grange takes in its community by highlighting the activities and functions your Grange puts on, the community service projects it engages in, and the future vision of the membership. The displays can also briefly highlight the history of the organization.

Strive to be a Grange in Action
Deadline: Sept. 25
The newest recognition program of the National Grange has a quickly approaching September 25th deadline. The Grange In Action program is designed to encourage all Granges to be active in their communities and complete events or projects, no matter how small. Any Grange that does not complete the application for Distinguished Grange can participate in this program.

(3" X 72")
For use at parades, school events, fundraisers, grand openings, conventions and Special Events!
$4.10 each for 10 or more

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™!
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

Grange Foil Seals Have New Low Price
$5.10 for a roll of 100
shipping not included

Download and View this Issue


Policies of the California State Grange and the National Grange come from members who submit resolutions to their local Grange, vote on them, and if passed, these are forwarded to the State Grange.

At the Annual State Session, the delegates from each of the local Granges then consider, debate, amend, and vote on those resolutions to become California State Grange policy. Any National-level resolutions passed by the delegates are sent on to the National Grange for consideration to become policy on a National level. Resolutions can be on any subject important to that member or community where they think the State Grange and/or National Grange can help promote progress.

Deadline for Resolution Packet: September 30, 2019

Any resolutions submitted after that date or brought to Session will go to the Resolution Committee. The Committee will then review it and determine if it will go before the delegates as a Committee Resolution.

Submit Resolutions:

Resolutions must be verified by the submitting Grange Secretary and sent by

(1) Mail with the signature of the Grange Master, Grange Secretary and Seal of the Grange


(2) Submit through the State Grange website at the link below. Files may be copied and pasted or uploaded. Resolutions are reviewed by the State Grange Secretary for formatting only and assignment to Committees. No changes are made to the original text as submitted. Duplicate resolutions from different Granges may be combined only if they are exactly the same.

"SustainAbility" -- 144th Annual Session October 12-15, 2019, Rincon Valley Grange Hall, Santa Rosa, CA

Submit Resolutions online



If you haven’t registered for the 153rd Annual National Grange Convention, today is the day. From tours of the Kelley Farm to watching spirited debate among delegates, attendees can add to their #GrangeStory in a variety of ways. Connect with members from all over the country and truly experience the fellowship Grange has to offer.

Early bird registration closes on Sept. 1

The discounted registration rate goes from $30 to $35 after the early bird deadline passes through Oct. 12. Registrations after October 12 will be assessed at the on-site rate of $40. To receive your discount, early bird registrations must be paid online or by check mailed to the National Grange office by Sept. 2. Registrations from Sept. 2 through Oct. 12 must be paid by October 12 to receive the $35 rate.


Some of the Junior passports have come out over the past two years and we’re looking to add more regularly. Some simple ones, based on the previous Junior badges, will become available this month. The first of those, Junior Attendance, can be found here. A preview of new passports in the Patron’s Chain and/or Good Day! magazine.


I am happy to announce the addition of a men’s division for the 2019 National Grange Quilt Block Contest. There will be a first, second and third place awarded with the same $50, $30 and $20 prize money. Come on guys, let’s see who has what it takes to sew a quilt block (or two or three)!

Grange Youth Logo - 17oz VACUUM INSULATED STAINLESS STEEL BOTTLE Keeps beverage hot or cold for up to 12 hours, screw-on rubber-seal cap.
Hand wash only.
10.0" H x 2.75" Diameter.
Item Color: Lime Green
Laser engraved with the Grange Youth logo.
$12.50 each

Remember to Visit our Grange Store ™
Order on line or call Monroe Classic, Inc.
1-800-868-2330 | or email

Granges Encouraged to Participate in “of the year” Recognition Program
By Pete Pompper, National Grange Community Service Director

For the past several years on the national level we have honored a Teacher, Law Enforcement Officer and Firefighter/EMT of the year from nominations that are sent in from each State Grange. This is a great way to honor those in your Community for all they do and several community Granges do this throughout the year. Granges have a special recognition meeting where they present awards to the winners and you do not have to limit it to these categories. You can honor any hometown hero any time. If you do not I hope you will start and I would be glad to help your Grange get started.

Do’s and Don’ts of Award Winning Community Service Books
By Pete Pompper, National Grange Community Service Director

As this Grange year starts coming to the close, I want to share with you the suggestions we have come up with when you put together your Community Service books. I need to preface this with these are just suggestions to make the books flow better and make it easier on the people putting it together. Different State Granges may have different ideas or suggestions. There were some good projects in some of the larger books but they were difficult to identify because of the way the books were organized. More pages (fluff) or larger books are not always better. Good organization is important. This is not a history book of everything your Grange did in a year, just the Community Service projects. This was an issue the judges this year had to sort through. It is important that the name of your Grange is on the front of the book. If you have to special order a bigger book it might be to “fluffy”.

For more information, download the newsletter.

SustainAbility - Theme for 2019 California State Grange Convention



▪ Saturday October 12 through Tuesday October 15, 2019


▪ Rincon Valley Grange Hall, 5055 Rincon Ave., Santa Rosa, CA


▪ Yourself, your family, your friends, an attitude for fun, good conversation, diverse opinions, and good Grange spirit.


▪ "A Taste Of...." Workshops
▪ Talent Show
▪ Exemplification of the 5th & 6th Degrees
▪ Legislative Resolutions
▪ Grange Expo!!
▪ Project Sustenance

More information coming to your email in the very near future. Watch for updates!!!

Visit CSG Website Convention Page

A Virtual Barn Raising!!

In previous times, when someone needed a barn built, the community came together for a good old-fashioned barn raising. Neighbors and friends made it a day of work, socializing, food, laughter, and, at the end of the day, the barn was raised.

Today, our Granges are in need of help with their buildings so we designed a Virtual Barn-Raising event to help support each other in our Grange community.

This Virtual Barn-Raising is for Jacinto Grange in Glenn County. They asked for a loan to fix the ducting under the building to help cooling and heating the building for their events. Jacinto Grange is busy in their community, supporting the 4-H, hosting community events, and raising funds with lunches, dinners, and card parties. The State Grange was able to grant half of the amount and arranged a loan for $4,300 for the other half.

This virtual barn-raising is to ask the community of Granges help Jacinto Grange pay off the loan. All donations would go directly to the principal. If your Grange is able, please make any donations payable to "California State Grange" and mark the memo field "Jacinto Grange". The State Grange will notify Jacinto Grange of each donation received on their behalf.

Send to: California State Grange, 3830 U Street, Sacramento, CA 95817. If you have any questions, please contact the State Grange Secretary, Lillian Booth at 916-454-5808.


July 2019 WRAP-UP

Agriculture and Food

Wall Street Leaving Farm Sector

When the housing and real estate crash occurred ten years ago, Wall Street banks went hunting for new ways to expand loan business beyond the troubled mortgage sector. They found those new opportunities in the rural Midwest and piled into the agriculture sector. It was easy to lend to farmers who had plenty of income and collateral as commodity and land prices surged. Now, as farm income falls, the U.S.-China trade war intensifies, and farm debt rises to $427 billion this year, Wall Street players are headed for the exits. Chapter 12 federal court filings, a type of bankruptcy protection largely created for small farmers a few years ago, increased from 361 filings in 2014 to 498 in 2018.

Pathway for Hemp Hits Regulatory Bump

The effort to implement the legalization of industrial hemp authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill is complex. The USDA is working on crop insurance, the Food and Drug Administration is trying to determine health risks to humans and animals of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and the EPA is looking for research on crop protection chemicals that are safe to use on hemp. The agencies are scrambling to publish regulations this fall.

Rewrite of Contract Grower Rule Expected

For many years, producers who grew animals (mainly broiler chickens) on contract for meat processors have accused those companies of unfair preferential treatment among growers. They have become more vocal that their relationship with the integrator - the company providing the chicks, feed and veterinary care to contract growers - has become more and more strained. Growers feel pressured into costly repairs and upkeep while fearing retaliation (sudden cancellation of contracts) for speaking out publically. Several Farm Bills directed the USDA to propose enforcement criteria to address such concerns but annual appropriations riders prevented funding to be used for their development. USDA recently announced it intends to publish proposed regulations later this summer to specifically address the issue of undue preference.

Farm Prices to Suffer as Increasing Productivity Outpaces Demand

According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global demand for agricultural products will not keep up with agriculture's productivity growth over the next decade. This will cause inflation-adjusted prices of the major commodities to remain at or below their current levels. Yield improvements and higher production intensity are being driven by technological innovation which will result in higher output even as agricultural land use remains nearly constant.
Democratic Presidential Hopefuls on Rural Issues

It's still early, but here's what we know about candidates' support so far:
• Biden wants to invest in climate-friendly farming, strengthen antitrust enforcement, grow the bioeconomy, invest in clean energy, support deployment of methane digesters, invest in rural broadband, expand the Conservation Stewardship Program, give persistent poverty counties more federal funding, protect and build upon the Affordable Care Act, "decarbonize" the food and agriculture sector, and is endorsing the Green New Deal.
• Sanders endorses the Green New Deal, and wants to address climate change, transition to regenerative family farming practices, and transition to more sustainable management for livestock systems.
• Warren wants to invest $2 trillion over the next 10 years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting that links American innovation directly to American jobs, and helping achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal. She supports family farms, likes country-of-origin labeling on food products and is committed to breaking up agribusiness monopolies.
• Harris wants to forge a Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis, build a clean economy that creates good-paying jobs for the future, and confront environmental injustice head on.
• Klobuchar vows to get the United States back into the Paris climate change accord and wants rural housing reform.
• Buttigieg wants to implement a Green New Deal with all available tools including a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and major direct investment to build a 100% clean energy society.
• O'Rourke wants a 10-year $5 trillion climate change investment, allow farmers and ranchers to profit from capturing greenhouse gasses, and have government procurement programs create a new "buy clean" program.
• Booker is a vegan who is critical of concentrated animal feeding operations and committed to addressing climate change with an eye on vulnerable communities.

Ag Workforce/Immigration

Changes Proposed to the H-2A Farmworker Visa Program

The Labor Department is proposing to allow more workers, overhaul wage requirements and streamline the H-2A application certification process in a 489- page notice released in mid-July. Grower groups and worker advocacy organizations are pouring through the proposed rulemaking document to offer expert comment to the DOL. Farmers and ranchers are generally pleased so far with the proposed changes. Demand for certified H-2A applicants has increased sharply year-over-year with a 21 percent increase from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018 as an example. For several years the National Grange has asked the Department of Labor to revise and streamline H-2A regulations and will work to finalize a much-improved rule.

Mexico's Migration Crackdown

The number of people taken into custody along the U.S. southern border fell 28 percent in June, a drop U.S. authorities say reflects the early impact of Mexico's crackdown on Central American migration. In May, President Trump agreed to withhold additional tariffs on Mexico and Mexican President Obrador agreed to dramatically increase enforcement efforts on the Mexican side of the border.

Health Care

Senate Urged to Keep Part D Intact

The National Grange along with 28 additional groups with a focus on senior citizen health, urged the Senate Finance Committee to reconsider many of their plans to restructure the Medicare Part D program. The groups raised concerns that the Committee's proposed changes to Part D have been discussed without meaningful stakeholder input and reportedly lacks significant reforms to address seniors' out-of-pocket cost sharing. The Committee should first address high senior out-of-pocket costs in any reform proposal, not just government savings. The National Grange had previously sent the Committee a cautionary statement that adding an inflation rebate penalty to Part D could arbitrarily target innovative medicines and may hamper patients' access to new and innovative treatments.

"Cadillac Tax" Repeal

The National Grange has joined numerous patient advocacy groups on letters to both the House and Senate urging repeal of the so-called "Cadillac Tax." This is a 40% tax on higher cost employer-provided health care benefit plans. This tax is especially onerous for middle income families and small businesses that already struggle to offer health care coverage to their employees. Employer-provided coverage is the backbone of our health care system and the primary source of coverage for the majority of Americans.


Support for Airwaves Act

The National Grange has issued a statement strongly supporting the reintroduced bipartisan Airwaves Act in the Senate. The Act would make spectrum available for auction to be used to relieve network congestion and support 5G implementation. It includes the stipulation that 10% of the proceeds be used specifically for rural broadband infrastructure build-out.

Lifeline Service Support in New York

Roger Halbert, Secretary of the New York State Grange, recently represented the National Grange to support the Lifeline program before the State of New York Public Service Commission. Several wireless providers have petitioned the Commission to be allowed to participate in New York's Targeted Accessibility Fund to deliver additional access to the Lifeline Program. Lifeline offers discounted phone and broadband service to elderly, disabled, shut-in, low-income citizens and to veterans.


Parameters of a U.S.-China Trade Deal

At the late June G-20 leaders summit when President Trump and China's President Xi Jinplng shook hands, extended olive branches and agreed to reopen trade talks, they apparently had a mutual understanding. The trade war would come down to the U.S. easing up on Huawei and China buying agricultural products. President Trump has since agreed to give timely licensing decisions to allow several tech companies to sell to Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Huawei was blacklisted in May effectively stopping its ability to buy U.S.-made chips. Chinese companies have since reached out to U.S. exporters to inquire about pricing and also filed applications to remove tariffs on agriculture goods. These goodwill gestures seem likely to pave the way for in-person meetings soon. However, on Capitol Hill Huawei is viewed as a threat to national security so stay tuned for further developments.

Japan Trade Promising

Talks are set to resume on a free trade agreement with Japan August 1 in Washington. Japanese Economy Minister Motegi will lead a visiting delegation for meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. U.S. ag producers have been pushing for a free trade agreement with Japan since President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Japan is America's fourth largest ag market and a major buyer of beef, pork, dairy, wheat, wine, fruits, vegetables and other commodities.

Lobby at Home in August

Congress will be on recess August 2-September 9. That means that your senators and representative will be spending at least some time at home. Remember the famous quote from legendary House Speaker Tip O'Neill who often proclaimed, "All politics is local." Survey after survey of congressmen and congressional staff say by far the most effective way to get your message to Washington is your action right from home. Go to local town hall meetings, listening sessions, fairs, rallies, celebrations, community events and other opportunities to come face-to-face with your member of Congress or their staff. Br courteous and respectful but direct and to the point as you summarize your issues. Make sure you have factual information and know both sides of the argument. Give the person you are talking to your contact information and ask for follow-up.


Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. ~ Victor Hugo

Youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms. ~ Thomas Gray

Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. ~ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. ~ Diogenes

In youth we learn; in age we understand. ~ Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

There are three periods in life: youth, middle age and "how well you look. ~ Nelson Rockefeller

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

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July 2019

In this issue:

• Master's Message
• Debate heats up on cell-cultured meat
• Youth members represent Grange at CADCA
• Cash in on savings with member benefits
• Contest, program deadlines quickly approaching
• Contacts made during summer events are important

• Grange Member Benefits Flyer
• July Junior Grange Month Flyer
• 153rd Annual Convention Flyer
• Grange Foundation Mercantile Flyer
• Grange Quilt Block Contest Info & Form
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

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Agriculture and Food

New Dairy Insurance Sign Up Begins

The new Dairy Margin Coverage program sign up began June 17 at the Farm Service Agency offices nationwide. The DMC, created by the 2018 farm bill, is designed to provide protection for dairy farmers when the margin between milk and feed prices reaches a certain threshold. The DMC offers a wider coverage spread than the former Margin Protection Program and is intended to benefit small-scale dairy producers.

FDA Drops Proposed "Added Sugar" Label on Maple Syrup and Honey

The Food and Drug Administration has scrapped its bid to require honey and maple syrup to be labeled as sources of added sugars in food products. The added sugar proposed rule was strongly opposed by several state Granges and the National Grange who argued that the added sugar line would have misled consumers. These products still must include the percent Daily Value of total sugar to ensure consumers have information how these products contribute to their total diet.

USDA Lengthens Haying and Grazing Time on Prevented Planting Acres

The USDA's Risk Management Agency will allow haying and grazing on prevented planted acres to begin on September 1, two months sooner than the normal date of November 1. This one-year change is a result of the excessive rain and unprecedented flooding that kept producers from planting traditional crops this spring. Farmers and ranchers, particularly in northern tier states, are very pleased with this new development. The date change had support from farm groups and bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

Feral Swine Causing Nationwide Problems

Feral swine or "wild hogs" have grown into a huge problem for landowners, farmers and ranchers, orchardists and many more. Wild hogs adapt to just about any habitat, have few natural enemies and reproduce at high rates. They uproot almost anything, destroy ecosystems and spread organisms harmful to human health like E. coli, salmonella and leptospirosis. The 2018 Farm Bill included authorization and funding for a new pilot program for control and eradication jointly administered by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Pilot projects will target states throughout the South and Southeast which have the highest feral swine population densities and associated damages in the country.

Health Care

Health Care Transparency

President Trump signed an Executive Order June 24 the White House states will improve price and quality transparency in health care with these key points:
• The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will require hospitals to publicly disclose amounts that reflect what patients actually pay for services in an easy to read format.
• HHS will require insurance companies to provide patients information on cost of care and out-of-pocket costs before they receive services.
• The Administration will improve quality measurements across all federal health care programs and make them public.
• Researchers and developers will get more access to federal health care data.
• Expand benefit options of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and other tax-preferred health accounts.

Pneumonia Vaccination Important

The National Grange joined ten other health, consumer and patient groups to urge the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC to recommend the continuation of coverage for pneumococcal vaccinations by insurance plans and Medicare. Nearly one million cases of pneumonia are reported each year which result in 400,000 hospitalizations and 20,000-30,000 deaths. A large percentage of these deaths are seniors.

More Concern About Imported Drugs

The National Grange teamed with the New York State Grange and seventeen other patient advocacy organizations to relay ongoing concerns about the risks of imported drugs to the sponsors of drug importation legislation in the New York State Legislature. The cosigned letter to sponsors of the legislation stressed the many risks that outweigh any benefits.

Don't Curtail Critical Innovations

Texas Senator Cornyn and Connecticut Senator Blumenthal recently introduced the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act, S. 1416, to curb the anti-competitive use of patents to protect prescription drugs and prevent generic and biosimilar competition. While well intended, the bill ls overly expansive in that its broad provisions could limit the variety of therapeutic options by creating the assumption that any new drug patent on an existing product could be deemed "anti-competitive." This could curtail critical innovations that patients rely on and leave them with limited therapeutic options. The National Grange joined other patient advocacy groups to urge the Senators to rethink their approach and encourage development of new medications and medication technology that provides the treatment of serious, complex, difficult-to-treat and/or life-threatening illnesses.


Let's Make a Deal

Democratic congressional leaders say they have agreed with President Trump to seek a deal on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. The President and members of Congress from both parties have long agreed on the need to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, but how to pay for it and what kinds of projects to be included have stymied progress. However, few in Washington believe a landmark piece of legislation will move through Congress this year with the 2020 presidential election approaching.

Spending Snapshot

With a new infrastructure spending bill on the mind of many on Capitol Hill, what have been the spending patterns on America's highways and waterways? According to the Congregational Budget Office, public spending (federal, state, local) on transportation and water infrastructure accounted for $441 billion in 2017. Highways were the largest infrastructure expenditure at $177 billion or 40% of the total public spending on transportation and water. The highway system is funded through the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the Highway Trust Fund. HTF has traditionally funded all highway projects and 80% of public transportation programs with fuel, truck and tire taxes. Ports and harbors are maintained by the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund through a 29 cent-per-gallon tax on barge fuel. These user tax revenues fund about half of the amount needed for the programs; the remainder must be appropriated by Congress.


The House Ways and Means Committee passed a broad tax bill in late June that includes an extension of the biodiesel tax credit and incentives for biofuel infrastructure and wind power. The tax bill also included a roll-back of estate tax exemptions beginning in 2023. The National Grange and a large group of agriculture, rural, landowner, small business and family- owned enterprises opposed the roll-back. This proposed change pulls the rug out from family-owned businesses and farms that have recently adjusted their succession plans to reflect the new tax code and causes more uncertainty for businesses hoping to pass to the next generation. The bill in its current form more than doubles the number of taxpayers subject to the death tax starting in 2023. Our groups will work to keep the roll-back provision out of the Senate version of the tax bill.


National Grange Petitions for New Connectivity

The National Grange along with 24 other rural education, municipal, telemedicine and agriculture groups petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open a new rulemaking procedure to clear outstanding regulatory hurdles related to TV White Space technology. TWS technology offers a solution to the digital divide that persists because of the prohibitive cost of deploying traditional technologies to small customer bases in hard-to-reach areas.

A Boost for USDA Rural Broadband Funding

The House has approved an increase in FY20 funding for USDA's ReConnect rural broadband loan and grant program to $605 million. The Senate has yet to start work on its FY20 appropriations bills but is expected to be favorable to this increase.

Upward Momentum for Broadband

U.S. broadband capital investment increased by $3 billion to $75 billion in 2018 according to USTelecom. Broadband capital investment had declined on a negative regulatory impact with the classification of broadband providers as utilities in 2015. That classification was reversed in 2017 and broadband investment began to rise again.


On June 29, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. They agreed to restart talks to end the U.S. - China trade war that has cost American agriculture billions in lost exports. The tariff and trade deadlock with China continues to weigh heavily on farmers and ranchers. The loss of farm product markets in China has been exacerbated by severe weather and prevented plantings across wide areas of farm country. Uncertainty is beginning to creep into rural America as the economic impact spreads through entire communities. On a brighter note, an agriculture trade pact with Japan appears promising after Japanese elections in July. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement has moved to higher priority in talks between U.S. Trade Representative Lightheizer and House of Representatives leadership. House Speaker Pelosi announced in late June her desire for a vote to approve USMCA, but is demanding that pharmaceutical patents, environmental standards and labor enforcement issues be addressed before passage. Mexico meantime passed the USMCA, making it the first country to ratify the North American trade pact. Canada has introduced an implementation bill in the country's Parliament but Canada wants to approve the deal closer to the final vote by the U.S. Congress.


The National Grange and members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group recently expressed strong support for the Surface Transportation Board undertaking efforts to modernize the Board's oversight of freight rail rates and for the creation the STB's Rate Reform Task Force. The freight rail marketplace has changed significantly over the past 30 years while the Board's process for adjudicating excessive rail rates has not kept pace.


• Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. George Eliot

• Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops or make an ox in two days. Henri Alain

• Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work, and it annoys the pig. Judy Sheindl

• As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. Joan Gussow

• Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. Anatole France

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

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June 2019


In this issue:


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In this issue:

• Master's Message
• Real milk park of farm-to-table diet
• Great Plains conference full of fun
• 7 selected as Communication Fellows
• Regional assistant chosen for membership department
• Many items on sale, clearance from Grange Supply Store

• July Junior Grange Month Flyer
• 153rd Annual Convention Flyer
• Grange Foundation Mercantile Flyer
• Grange Quilt Block Contest Info & Form
• Grange Revival Registration Form
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

View the Latest Newsletter

Montana State Grange is responsible for hosting the Western States Leadership Conference this summer. The conference will be August 9, 10, and 11 at the Echo Valley Camp between Avon and Elliston. This conference is open to all Grangers of all ages, not just the Youth and not just officers. We have some excellent workshops planned so I hope that you will all make an effort to attend.

There will be several National Officers/Directors in attendance and presenting workshops. There will be a variety of workshops, some related to Grange topics and some applicable to your everyday life. This is your opportunity to develop skills to help you help your Grange and yourself. There will be excellent opportunities for you to network with members from other States to find out what is or is not working in their Granges.

As you can see from the enclosed registration form, registrations are due by July 8th. If you are not comfortable with a “camping” experience, you can choose to stay at a motel in Helena. Helena is approximately 30 miles East of the Camp.

Feel free to call or email if you have any questions.
Marty J. Billquist, Montana State Grange Young Adults Director Cell: 406-560-1483 Email:

View Camp Website

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In this issue:

• Master's Message
• Prepare for Junior Grange Month
• 153rd National Grange Convention
• 2019 Quilt Block Contest
• Membership Matters
• Youth Announce New Program
• Disaster Bill Signed Into Law

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Congress returned to Washington June 3 from a week-long Memorial Day recess. We held this report to see if the House could pass the disaster bill which it failed to do prior to leaving for recess. They did and we have the details. Spring planting fell behind in the rain and storms of May. By the end of May, plantings were 32% behind normal. Late plantings usually favor soybeans over corn the later the season becomes. A new round of trade assistance to producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs was announced amid threats to Mexico. WOTUS takes a hit in court. HHS abandons harmful "step therapy" proposal. Surprise medical bills get Hill attention.

Presidential campaign politics are already heating up a little earlier than normal this year. That's partly because of the huge field of Democratic hopefuls this primary season. Candidates have to do everything possible to get noticed even if it's a little crazy. Look at the candidates' web sites for their policy positions on the issues important to you. You might be surprised....both good and bad.

Agriculture and Food

Disaster Aid

The House overwhelmingly passed the disaster aid bill that had been debated for six months. The Senate previously passed the $19.1 billion disaster relief bill containing aid for agriculture and rural disaster losses. The legislation had been stalled in the House by several members objecting that it did not contain "pay-for" provisions nor did it contain $4.4 Billion the President requested for border security. This delay followed a previous delay of a month on the Senate side because of disagreements over funding for Puerto Rico and border security. The package includes $5.5 billion in agriculture assistance to cover a wide array of producer loses from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, snowstorms and other natural disasters dating back to early 2018. Included were coverage for prevented planted acres, a provision ensuring industrial hemp will be eligible for crop insurance, and funds to help landowners restore culverts, stream banks, levees, forests and other infrastructure.

WOTUS Takes Another Hit

The 2015 Waters of the United States regulation that farmers, ranchers, landowners and many others have fought fiercely to overturn took a recent hit when the US Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the federal agencies violated basic requirements of fair process by issuing the rule without first releasing for comment a key report that was the basis for many of their most controversial decisions. The EPA and Corps of Engineers are currently working on a replacement regulation that better fits congressional intent and definitions established by the Clean Water Act.

"Best if Used By" Labels Cut Food Waste

FDA has endorsed food company efforts to standardize voluntary date labeling to indicate quality and freshness across all food categories. The current "sell by" date on food packages is an indication of freshness and is not meant to indicate the food should not be eaten after that date. However, it is confusing to consumers. Confusion about date labeling accounts for approximately 20 percent of consumer food waste. Over 85% of consumers surveyed said the streamlined dates were clear and helpful to them.

What Does Local Food Mean?

Apparently consumers haven't a clue. According to Neilson researchers, 46% of grocery shoppers say they are aware of the importance of buying local. But when shoppers are asked to define local food, their perceptions of local food were all over the place. Most respondents said eggs, baked goods and produce should come from the same general area as the store. Dairy, deli and meat were considered local if they came from within the state. Consumers said frozen foods, seafood and packaged goods are local if they come from within the U.S.

Health Care

Final Medicare Rule Abandons "Step Therapy"

The Department of Health and Human Services has withdrawn two proposals that would have been harmful to Medicare Part B and Part D patients. The agency will prohibit the use of step therapy for patients who are stable on their current treatment. Step therapy would have denied the patients with serious illnesses access to newer and more effective drugs until the patient's current medication failed. The agency also says it will not weaken safeguards for vulnerable patients covered by the "six protected classes" of serious therapeutic concern (serious treatments such as oral chemotherapy drugs). This is good news; the National Grange has been deeply involved with both these issues.

Surprise Medical Bills

Patients are reporting dramatic increases in exorbitant prices for medical treatment. These surprise bills and high charges stem largely from hospitals or emergency medical facilities which are not in the patient's insurance network. Surprise charges are most often for physicians (53%), followed by laboratory tests (51%), hospitals or medical facilities (43%), imaging (35%), and prescription drugs (29%) according to research by the University of Chicago. A bipartisan group of senators led by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy (a physician) is working on a legislative package to protect patients. The National Grange is strongly supporting their efforts.

FDA Guidance Needed on Hemp and CBD

The extract of industrial hemp is cannabidiol or CBD oil. It has been hailed as a cure for just about everything that ails a person. Production of hemp was legalized in the recent farm bill to be grown as an agricultural crop. The catch is that FDA has not formally approved CBD as a medication or food supplement. USDA wrote a legal opinion in May that the farm bill language removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and prevented states from prohibiting interstate shipment of hemp legally produced under permit. The catch is that FDA has not formally approved CBD as a medication or food additive nor identified the potential risks and benefits associated with CBD. Both USDA and FDA are working on clarifying regulations. In the meantime, the industry will have to deal with a confusing patchwork of state rules.


Mixed Reviews on Rural Broadband Deployment

The good news is that fixed broadband reached an additional 4.3 million rural residents in 2017. The bad news is that 21.3 million still lack broadband service according to the Federal Communications Commission. The report states that fixed and mobile services are substitutable for many residents and broadband providers of both services are competing for customers. Challenges to the accuracy of FCC broadband deployment maps have been raised and the challenge process has not yet concluded. Higher speed (250Mbps/25Mbps) broadband service to rural Americans increased by 81.5 percent in 2017. Rural broadband deployment is a top priority for the National Grange.

Congress Must Reauthorize the Satellite Act

The National Grange is urging Congress to reauthorize the Satellite Act that is set to expire at the end of 2019. Satellite is the only viable technology that allows many rural communities consistent access to programming at a fair price. The Act preserves the ability of providers to import distant signals to underserved households without the threat of fee disputes or suspension of certain channels without notice. Many rural communities still depend on satellites for news, sports, entertainment and other programming.


Mexico Threatened with New Tariffs

Keeping up with trade issues these days is like watching the trading board of a stock exchange. Within days of dropping steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, the President has threatened to reinstate a new 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods beginning June 10. The rate will go up 5 percent per month until Mexico complies with his latest effort to force Mexico to clamp down on Central Americans crossing Mexico to get into the U.S. A new trade war with Mexico would hit American agriculture hard economically with the loss of a major pork, poultry, wheat and dairy export market. The move raises new fears that new tariffs could jeopardize the chance for Congress to ratify the U.S Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Trade Aid

In late May, the USDA announced it would make up to $16 billion available in a second trade assistance package for programs to help producers most impacted by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. Payments will be made in three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade prospects dictate. These Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments will be based on commodity prices, production, acres and county averages, depending on the specific commodity produced. More specific details have yet to be announced by USDA.


Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul. ~ Jamie Lyn Beatty

If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine: it's lethal. ~ Paulo Coelho

People don't take trips, trips take people. ~ John Steinbeck

The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you can't fly, run, if you can't run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving. ~ Martin Luther King

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

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WHAT WILL YOU ENTER THIS YEAR? Canning, Grange Youth Fair projects, Photography, Art, or any of the myriad contests and competitions open to California Grange Members and Guest Exhibitors?

NEW THIS YEAR: Our theme is Super Heroes, be they in the movies, in your community, or even you. If your entry connects to Super Heroes make sure to mark it on your entry form.

EVEN MORE: The California Grange Expo responds to requests for classes. We just created an Interlocking Building Block (think Lego, Knex, or other) competition for all ages. Maximum foot print is 24 x 24 inches. It must be attached to a base plate or a single free-standing unit. Kits are not allowed, however major modifications or re-purposed kits will be allowed. Look in Division 300.

COMPETITIONS AT JUNIOR, YOUTH, & FAMILY CONFERENCE: Public Speaking and Sign-A-Song contestants will compete June 22, 2019 at the inaugural JY&F Conference at Prunedale Grange Hall, Prunedale, CA

Kind regards, California Grange Expo

Get Entry Form

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May 2019

We are in the process of making some improvements to the look of the California Granger website. These improvements will include updating graphics, minor changes to menu options and hopefully a better user experience.

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In this issue:

• Master's Message
• You can lobby for Grange Youth
• PR Contest reminder
• Membership Zoom meeting coming soon
• Members benefit from various savings programs
• Items great for all members available from Supply Store

• Grange Foundation Mercantile Flyer
• Grange Quilt Block Contest Info and Form
• Grange Revival Registration Form
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

In this issue:

• Add the next chapter to your Grange story
• UPS Flat Rate Pricing

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.



National Grange Fly-In

The National Grange Fly-In to Washington, DC was April 28-May 1. A total of twenty- two Grange members from eleven states met with thirty-one members of Congress or their staffs. The group also was briefed by Anne Hazlett, Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, and by Preston Wise, Special Counselor to Chairman Pai at the Federal Communications Commission. The National Grange focused on priority public policy issues that need action by Congress and the federal agencies during 2019. These actions include disaster relief, rebuilding rural infrastructure, passing the Student Agriculture Protection Act, legislation to protect online privacy, upgrade rural broadband coverage maps, emerging broadband technologies to reach rural areas, maintaining the Lifeline program for rural residents, the dangers of importing non-FDA-approved prescription drugs, and prescription drug discount rebates to patients to lower out-of-pocket costs at the drug counter. Grange members also urged Congress to take action on pending bills in Congress that address patient prescription drug costs.

Agriculture and Food

Census of Agriculture Documents Change

The USDA's latest ag census shows that the major trends in agriculture since the 2012 census are continuing:
• Dairy farm numbers declined 17 percent but milk sales increased 4 percent as dairy operations grow larger and smaller producers are squeezed out. Overall, the number of all farms decreased by 3.2 percent.
• The number of farmers increased by 6.9 percent as young, beginning and female farmers took on decision-making roles.
• The average age of all farmers rose to 57.5 years compared to 56.3 years in 2012.
• One in four producers is a beginning farmer with less than 10 years of experience and an average age of 46.3 years.
• A record low 105,453 farms produced 75 percent of all sales, down from 119,908 farms in 2012.
• Ninety-six percent of American farms and ranches are family owned.

New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the DMC which is a voluntary risk management tool that offers dairy producers financial protection when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by producers. Sign-up for the DMC begins June 17 through USDA's Farm Service Agency.

Farm Bill Tackles Feral Swine

Between funds authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and additional funds appropriated by Congress, USDA now has $30.5 million in fiscal 2019 to reduce feral swine damage to crops and land across 35 states. Wild hogs destroy anything in their path including crops, land, fencing, roads, wildlife and can spread disease to domestic pigs.

AG Workforce and Immigration

The agriculture community continues to push Congress to pass legislation that would assure producers access to sufficient, flexible, legal and dependable labor. The House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing in early April on the availability of farm labor to meet seasonal and year-round needs. There appears to be increased bipartisan support in the House for an agriculture-only workforce bill. But judging from past experience, there will be pressure to add a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Dreamers) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries to any immigration legislation that makes it to the House floor. The more provisions that are added the less likely the bill is to pass. In the meantime, the Department of Labor is collaborating with USDA to streamline the H-2A visa application process for ag employers.

Conservation, Land and Water

Permanent conservation easements are generally presumed to benefit the natural environment, but their purpose and results can vary widely. For agriculture, they can be double-edged swords, protecting and preserving farming and ranching or, conversely, blocking some farm uses forever. House Agriculture Chairman Colin Peterson says he wants to review these easements with a common-sense approach "to think about what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what effects these easements have." Peterson intends to review all types of conservation easements as part of hearings on farm bill implementation. Most farmers and ranchers prefer working-land conservation initiatives rather than land-idling conservation programs.

Health Care

Dangers of Imported Drugs

The National Grange continues to alert members of the rural and small town communities about the dangers of taking imported non-FDA approved prescription drugs. The National Grange joined over 100 cosigners on a Partnership for Safe Medicines letter to the President and members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The letter pointed out that historically, attempts to import drugs from "safe countries" like Canada result in Americans getting counterfeit, substandard or black market medication. These substandard substances are often transshipped from third world countries through Canada's free -trade zones but these drugs never enter the Canadian regulatory sphere to assure safety and efficacy for the patient.

Prescription Drug Rebates to Patients

The Department of Health and Human Services should finalize its proposed rule to reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs at the drug counter according to the National Grange. Currently, prescription rebates are negotiated between biopharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers aimed at lowering the net cost of medicines. Unfortunately, these rebates have been used to lower a plan's overall costs instead of lowering patients' out-of-pocket costs at the drug counter.


Rural Broadband Maps Need Work

Maps that show broadband coverage in rural areas are not accurate. The Federal Communications Commission collects rural broadband data by census block. If just one home or business in an entire block has internet service, everyone in that block is counted as having service available. Rural census blocks cover large areas where a few miles can mean the difference between having broadband or not. During the April National Grange Fly-In, attendees met with Preston Wise, Special Counsel to FCC Chairman Pai, and urged the FCC to place a priority on upgrading rural broadband coverage maps.

Protect Online Privacy

Recent investigations reveal how mobile apps share personal, business, and location information with Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other, and that Facebook in particular stores incredible amounts of personal data on just about everyone. National Grange president Betsy Huber was featured recently in Washington's Morning Consult calling for Congress to establish a uniform national privacy standard for everyone on the internet. The Senate Judiciary, Senate Commerce, and House Energy and Commerce Committees have all held hearings on privacy and are urging prompt Hill action before states pass a patchwork of individual laws.


American farmers, ranchers, processors, vintners and bakers are losing sales to Japan as foreign competitors lock in new business under preferential trade pacts. Member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are seeing tariffs on their agricultural exports to Japan reduced for a second time. The United States withdrew from the TPP before ratification. As a result, U. S. wheat, beef, pork, dairy, wine, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, and more are seeing their Japanese market share decline. The National Grange and other agriculture groups are asking the Administration to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Japan that restores access and expands markets for American producers.

Youth Call to Action

Would you lobby for agriculture's youth? Well, here's your chance. First, ask your U.S. Representative in Washington to cosponsor H.R. 1770, the Student Agriculture Protection Act, sponsored by bipartisan Representatives McCaul, Cuellar and Peterson. The bill exempts tax on the first $5,000 in proceeds from the sale of livestock or agricultural projects by FFA or 4-H participants. Second, ask your Representative to cosponsor an amendment to include Grange Youth in the bill. Let us know if you need the contacts for your Representative. Also please tell us if your Representative will cosponsor a Grange Youth amendment.


Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain

To err is human, to forgive, divine. ~ Alexander Pope

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. ~ Nelson Mandela

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart ~ Corrie Ten Boom

Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misconceptions. ~ Gerald G. Jampolsky

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

National Grange, 1616 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

View the Latest Newsletter

April 2019

In this issue:


Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

Registration for the 153rd Annual Convention of the National Grange is now available. This year the Midwest Region will be hosting so please come and join your Grange friends from across the nation in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 5 - 9, 2019.

View Registration Information

Four California Students Win GIA Scholarships

Grange Insurance Association is pleased to announce that Stephanie Mills of Corning, Katlyn Lima of Dos Palos, Julianna Davey of Merced, and Jessica Allen of Redding, California were awarded Grange Insurance Association scholarships.

Each year Grange Insurance Association awards scholarships to qualified applicants. The applicant or their parents must be policyholders of Grange Insurance Association. Among the 49 applications received, 27 scholarships were awarded this year.

The quality of applicants was exceptionally high again this year and the Company is extremely pleased with the caliber of students who applied for our scholarships. It is always a difficult process to make the selections when all the applicants are so highly qualified. An announcement will be made in the late fall regarding the program for the following year, and we encourage you to watch this paper for information on the application process for next year’s program. Grange Insurance Association has made scholarships available since 1965. They may be used at any accredited school or college and are offered throughout GIA’s operating territory, which includes the states of California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, and Washington. The Home Office of Grange Insurance Association is in Seattle, WA.

In this issue:


• Master’s Message
• Fundraising on the move for Grange Foundation
• Members benefit from various savings programs
• Items great for all members, Halls available from Supply Store
• Don’t forget to use our partner, Monroe Classic
• Big savings on computers offered to members for Grange Month
• Juniors, Subordinate members: You can still come to Fly-In!
• National Lecturer shares success story


• Grange Foundation Virtual Race flyer
• Grange Revival Registration Form
• 2019 Theme One-Page Use Guide
• Grange Month Poster
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

In this issue:


Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.



Agriculture and Food

Politics Sidetrack Disaster Relief

Senators so far have failed to pass much-needed disaster aid to help farmers and ranchers recover from hurricanes, floods, tornados and wildfires. The political divide is over how much money should go to support Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis. The National Grange will continue to urge Congress to help farmers and ranchers rebound from these dire circumstances beyond their control.

Stress Down on the Farm

Storms, floods, low prices, labor shortages, uncertain credit for spring planting, and heavy workloads are causing significant strain on farmers', ranchers' and farm workers' mental and emotional well-being. The National Grange joined 22 other farm, ranch and rural organizations to ask the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Subcommittees on Agriculture Appropriations to fully fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network for FY 2020. The Network provides grants for extension services, state departments of agriculture, nonprofit organizations and other entities to provide stress assistance programs to farmers, ranchers, farm workers and other agriculture-related occupations. Around 60% of rural residents live in areas that suffer from shortages of mental and emotional well-being professional services.

Selling CBD in Food is Illegal

CBD or cannabidiol derived from hemp is a non-intoxicating compound reputed to have numerous health benefits. CBD is being added to foods, beer, sauces and elixers. Restaurants promote their menus structured around CBD as an ingredient. Despite language in the 2018 Farm Bill allowing hemp to be grown as an agricultural crop, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits the addition of CBD to prepared foods. So, for now CBD in food and drink is illegal. FDA has scheduled a public meeting for May to receive input and has appointed an internal working group to explore how CBD could be sold legally in food, beverages and supplements.

Pesticide Residues in Vegetables and Fruits

According to the Environmental Working Group, strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines and apples top EWG's list of fresh foods with the highest levels of pesticide residues. The least residues were found in avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, onions and sweet peas. However, EWG did not reveal which food items, if any, had residues above the tolerance levels set by FDA.

FDA's Produce "Water Rule" Delayed

Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) more than eight years ago. FDA, industry and outside scientists are still struggling to figure out the best way to ensure the water used for irrigation and packing fresh produce is safe. In response to producer concerns, FDA has decided to give produce farms two additional years to comply with the rule's segment on agriculture water requirements.

Beagles to the Rescue

Pork producers in the U.S. are depending on USDA's "Beagle Brigade" to keep the deadly African Swine Fever virus away from their pigs. ASF is a highly contagious fatal disease ripping through European and Asian pork production right now. There is no treatment or vaccine for it. These beagles are on duty at all international airports to aid in keeping diseases and pests out of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents and USDA beagles randomly screen arriving international passengers and cargo. The dog paws or sits near a bag or container to indicate the presence of an agricultural product. In March, a million pounds of pork products smuggled from China were seized at the Newark, N.J. airport. The pork was hidden in packages of noodles and laundry detergent. Since 2015, beagles have seized prohibited agricultural goods from an average of more than 137,000 travelers per year.

Health Care

Beware of Imported Drugs

The National Grange continues to take the lead to caution rural and small town residents about the little-known dangers of importing prescription drugs. The national watchdog group Partnership for Safe Medicines has partnered with the National Grange and scores of patient advocacy, medical, pharmacy, health care, law enforcement and consumer interest organizations to once again raise awareness of the dangers of importing non-FDA approved medications that could endanger the health and safety of our communities. In letters to President Trump, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives, the groups reiterated:
• Attempts to import drugs from "safe countries" like Canada could result in Americans getting counterfeit, substandard or black market medication
• There is no oversight, safety enforcement or FDA protection; Canada does not inspect, regulate or supervise transshipped medication that Canadian companies sell to Americans because these medications aren't entering the Canadian drug supply
• Counterfeiters are using Chinese-made fentanyl and it's coming into the U.S. freely
• For patients with serious conditions, counterfeit medicine with substandard or no active ingredient could be a death sentence
• Allowing importation is not the answer to the prescription drug price crisis in the United States

Several state Granges have been active on the imported drug issue with their state legislatures as well

Give Drug Rebates to Patients

The price of prescription drugs is a huge concern to just about everyone. Health and Human Services Secretary Azar has proposed changes to the Medicare Part D rebate distribution system that would require negotiated discounts on drugs to be shared with Medicare patients at point of sale. The National Grange joined a large number of patient groups and health care organizations on a letter of support for Secretary Azar's patient-centered proposal. The letter reiterated:
• Rebates for prescription drugs is a secretive process with middlemen reaping the benefits while patients are left holding the bill
• Prescription drug rebates are negotiated by biopharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers aimed at lowering the price of medicines. But unfortunately, Pharmacy Benefit Managers keep these discounts and use them to lower the plans' overall costs instead of lowering cost-sharing for patients who use the rebated medicines.
• The proposed rule would eliminate existing protection for rebates and permit manufacturers, PBM's and insurance plans to negotiate for discounts to be used to lower patient cost- sharing.

Immigration/AG Workforce

The dire need for ag labor nationwide is beginning to generate activity on Capitol Hill. Representatives Lofgren (D-CA-19) and Panetta (D-CA-20) are the original sponsors of H.R. 641 which is a companion bill to S. 175 sponsored by Senator Feinstein (D-CA). Lofgren is the new chair of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship which held a hearing on H.R.641 in late March. H.R. 641 is a stand-alone ag labor bill that that would establish an earned legalization program for undocumented farm workers who have been consistently employed in U.S. agriculture and meet other requirements. A majority of the nation's 2.4 million farm workers are undocumented.


Value of Digital Tools to Rural America

A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the digital potential of rural businesses could add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and create thousands of full time jobs in rural communities. The report indicates that:
• Adoption of online tools and digital services across rural areas could create more than 360,000 jobs in the next three years
• Increased adoption could grow annual revenues of rural small businesses by more than 21% over the next three years with states in the South seeing the greatest benefit
• Online tools and technology have the highest potential impact on rural small businesses with annual revenue under $100,000
• The report specifically recommends expanding education and training programs, helping rural areas attract talent, and increasing the availability of high-speed internet access and mobile phone connectivity

Use TV White Space to Deliver Broadband

The National Grange joined partners in the Connect Americans Now coalition to submit comments to USDA regarding the needs that must be addressed to ensure rural communities can survive and thrive in the modern economy. One of several options to close the rural broadband gap is to use the unlicensed vacant channels below 608 MHz, ie. the TV white space, to deliver broadband access to underserved rural areas in a cost effective manner.

Improve Broadband Data Maps

Data maps which the Federal Communications Commission uses to show the extent of broadband coverage across the landscape are inaccurate according to those who work and live in rural America. The FCC maps tend to overstate coverage in rural areas because if one customer in a census block has service, the Commission considers that census block provides service all customers in the area. Those assumptions lead to a vast overstatement of broadband availability to rural areas. Rural groups, agriculture organizations and members of Congress are asking the FCC to improve the accuracy of their broadband coverage and mobile data maps.

Fraudulent Robo-Calls

Robo-calls are annoying at the very least. Perhaps robo-calls are better described as an ever-worsening scourge. Block one today and more pop up tomorrow. That's why the National Grange issued a statement applauding AT&T and Comcast for their joint efforts to halt fraudulent robo-calls. The companies have completed a successful cross-network test of a new system to authenticate caller ID numbers. Once available to the public, the system will screen incoming calls by phone number to ensure the call is actually coming from the number shown. In Congress, both Republicans and Democrats appear ready to take steps toward cracking down on scammers who prey on consumers' phones. Hearings have already been scheduled before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Want Your Paper?

Some people prefer to get their bills, notices, reports, and the like the old fashioned way...on paper. That's why the National Grange is part of the Keep Me Posted North America group. The group advocates for the right of every consumer to choose, free of charge, how they receive important information from their service providers. Letters are sent to government agencies, companies and other entities who are switching customers from receiving paper copies to digital-only communications without receiving clear permission from their customers.


Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom. ~ Francis Bacon

Nature grows her plants in silence and in darkness, and only when they have become strong do they put their heads above the ground. ~ Annie Besant

It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause. ~ Mark Twain

I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent. ~ Publilius Syrus

A fool is known by his speech; and a wise man by his silence. ~ Pythagoras

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

Download the Latest Newsletter


Brothers and Sisters,
It’s here! That most wonderful month, April – Grange Month! These 30 days we look forward to the whole year. Time for us to celebrate the greatest organization, The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.

We have a proud history of supporting, educating, advocating, and sometimes fighting for rural Americans. I hope that you have made plans to not only celebrate our 152nd year, but our continued efforts for improvement. Improvement in the skills, talents, and knowledge of our members, in making our communities better places to live, in providing common sense solutions to your State and Nation. In this time of extreme partisanship, incivility, and lack of respect for our fellow men and women, the Grange is needed more than ever.

Our traditions of civic involvement, open discussions of difficult issues, civility and respect for all, make Grange a valuable contributor to every community across America.


This is the year that you must open the doors of your hall and welcome interested residents of your community, or step outside your hall and share the benefits of our Order with the good citizens that live nearby. We may often seem to be the best kept secret. We need to change that now!

As I talk with Grangers and others throughout our country, I find people who are interested and enthused about our organization. Youth and young adults seek opportunities to learn and improve themselves for better careers and better lives. Parents tell me of the challenges that society often places in the way of teaching their children American values. The newly retired are looking for places to give back or develop interests that they postponed during their careers. To all of these, the Grange is the solution – all they need is an invitation to be a part of our family. Please look at your community and invite some of these folks to join our organization this month. Share with them what your community Grange does and give them the opportunity to be part of our national organization. And most of all, celebrate and have fun!


Betsy E. Huber
National Master

March 2019

National Grange Legislative Fly-In 2019

There's Still Time


Set your 2019 travel schedule to include a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National Grange Legislative Fly-In. Join Brothers and Sisters from around the nation to promote Grange policy priorities and get advocacy training so you can better present your community’s concerns to elected officials and their staff.

Legislative Fly-In Schedule

Sunday, April, 28
• Arrival and check-ln
• Evening mix and mingle dessert social at the hotel

Monday, April 29
• Issue briefings and speakers at the National Grange
• Agency visits
• Congressional Capitol Hill appointments

Tuesday, April, 30
• Congressional Capitol Hill appointments
• Late day/evening departures for some

Wednesday, May 1
• Finish Congressional Capitol Hill appointments
• Return home

Lodging: Quality Inn, 1587 Spring Hill Road, Vienna, VA 22182. Call the hotel at (703) 448-8020 to make your reservation by April 1. Book Now!

Register Now! Click here to Register

In this issue:

• Grange Youth energized by Ag Day
• Grange Month is Coming. Share!
• Attendees enjoy Mid-Atlantic Conference
• Juniors encouraged to lead charge in Kelley Farm Fundraiser
• Members benefit from nearly half-off discount on computers
• Membership Director seeks regional assistants
• New Mission Statement Poster hot off the presses, for sale
• Reminders about sale items from Supply Store, Monroe Classic
• Time winding down to register for Legislative Fly-In
• National Lecturer provides overview

• REV 2019 Quilt Block Contest and Form
• Quilt Raffle and Grange Mercantile Info
• 2019 Theme One-Page Use Guide
• Grange Values Ad
• Grange Month Poster
• Toolkit: Grange Inventory
• 1 in 1,000 Club Membership Form
• Esto Perpetua: Giving Form
• Evening of Excellence Poster
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.



Agriculture and Food

Farm Bill Implementation

Despite the recent 35-day government shutdown that halted work on the new farm bill, USDA is about ready to announce the timeline for implementing revisions to programs. The legislation made relatively small changes to the 2014 farm bill and is generally considered "farmer friendly" by producers. At the farm bill listening session in Washington February 26, USDA was pressed to act quickly on dairy and conservation provisions. The Farm Service Agency expects Dairy Margin Coverage signup to begin June 17 with payments starting as soon as July 8.

Protein Demand

The demand for plant and animal protein food products shows no sign of letting up. With steadily rising incomes, especially in developing countries, consumers appear to want more and more protein-laden foods. Trend-watchers are betting on robust growth in production and consumption both in the U.S. and worldwide. These pundits also look for a spectrum of cultural diets, nutrition and health concerns, and animal welfare to continue their mixed influences on demand for high-protein foods.

Support for Wildlife Services

The National Grange joined over 200 farmer and rancher, landowner, hunter, aviation, wildlife management and state government groups to support continued funding for USDA's Wildlife Services. The groups gave examples to the House Appropriations Committee leadership of the need for an effective Wildlife Services presence where wildlife control is necessary. Wildlife damage to fruits, vegetables, crops and livestock has reached almost $1 billion annually. The spread of wildlife-borne disease to humans, livestock and other wildlife is a growing concern.

Food Stamps in Limelight Again

Just two months after the farm bill food stamp/SNAP debate was settled, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are fraudulently used. GAO found many stores were "selling" cash instead of food. For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits then pocket the difference. GAO has given the Food and Nutrition Service which administers the program several concrete recommendations to crack down on SNAP fraud.


EPA Pushing States to Address Nutrient Problems

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking states to tackle nutrient contamination in water which has become an increasingly visible issue in farm country. EPA and USDA are seeking input from states on water quality solutions to mitigate excess nitrogen, phosphorous and nutrients from livestock manure.

Bipartisan Support for Major Land Conservation Bill

By a bipartisan vote of 363-62 the House has approved sweeping public lands legislation that designates more than a million acres of wilderness for environmental protection (prohibits all development and the use of most motorized vehicles), numerous conservation measures and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Under the Fund, fossil-fuel companies, rather than taxpayers, cover a major portion of protecting public lands.

Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The EPA and Corps of Engineers are inviting public comment on a proposed rule to more closely define the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. The agencies propose to interpret the term "waters of the United States" to encompass traditional navigable waters, tributaries that that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to such waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, and wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters. The agencies propose as a baseline concept that all waters are not "waters of the United States". Farmers, ranchers, landowners and many others see the proposal as a major improvement over the original WOTUS rule.

Health Care

Concerns About Imported Drugs

The National Grange is leading a nationwide coalition to raise concern about federal and state initiatives to import prescription drugs. Grangers depend upon accessible, affordable, effective and safe prescription drugs. Cheaper prescription drugs delivered by mail from Canada seem like a perfect answer to their needs, right? No, not really. Counterfeit and possibly dangerous drugs via this route are a distinct possibility. The Grange is particularly concerned about the safety and effectiveness of counterfeit drugs produced in third world countries and transshipped through multiple other countries before they reach American patients. To make matters worse, Canada says it has no regulatory responsibility to assure the safety and effectiveness of these transshipped prescription drugs coming into America.

Give Drug Rebates Directly to Patients

HHS Secretary Azar has proposed a major change to the drug purchasing and rebate system. His plan calls for prescription drug discounts by drug makers to be offered directly to patients instead of insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers. National Grange President Betsy Huber issued a statement stressing that the proposed rule gets the middlemen out of the way and will lower prescription drug costs for those with chronic conditions. "We look forward to working with Secretary Azar and his team to assure rural America actually does see lower drug costs and does receive better access to treatment."

Public Wary of "Medicare for All"

According to a Hill-HarrisX poll released in February, just thirteen percent of respondents want "Medicare for all" if it means the end of private insurance. Respondents were clearly saying the health care system is broken to some degree but there was not consensus around how to fix it. Health care policy is proving to be challenging for both political parties.

Private Care Proposed for Vets

The Department of Veterans Affairs has released proposals to determine whether a veteran gets treatment from the VA or the private sector. Under the "designated access standards" proposal, the VA wants to set a 30-minute drive time standard, or a 20-day wait-time standard for primary care, mental health and non-institutional extended care. This proposal is in line with National Grange policy and is an important step for rural and small town veterans who may be located long distances from VA facilities.

Immigration/AG Workforce

The dire need for agricultural labor is beginning to get more attention in Washington. USDA continues to work on a plan to allow farmers to apply for H-2A foreign labor through USDA rather than the Department of Labor. California's Representative Jimmy Panetta and Senator Diane Feinstein have co-sponsored a "Blue Card" bill to provide agriculture a more stable workforce which provides a pathway to citizenship. The National Grange works closely with the Ag Workforce Coalition which is pushing for:

• An available, dependable and legal ag labor supply
• A "Card" that allows workers to enter the country legally to work in agriculture
• Modification of the H-2A program to be more timely, more responsive and less burdensome.
• Creation of a program to allow trained and skilled ag workers (milkers, machinery operators, animal care workers, managers, etc.) to stay longer.


The National Grange joined 240 cosigner members of the Rebuild Rural Coalition on a letter to Senate and House leadership encouraging Congress to move quickly to pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen our nation's infrastructure. The letter highlighted rural broadband expansion, safe drinking water, reliable roads, bridges, inland waterways, ports, railroads, rural health care and more.


Federal Privacy Law Needed

A new internet privacy law with a single, uniform standard for the internet will provide clarity for millions of online users who value their privacy, according to National Grange President Betsy Huber in an editorial in the February 13 Morning Consult. Lawmakers across party lines recognize the need to give internet users better protections to oversee companies that collect and use their personal online information. Congressional action on a uniform privacy standard for all internet companies should come quickly. Already this issue is percolating in state legislatures and individual state action could lead to continued confusion among consumers as they engage in daily online activities.

Rural Broadband Providers Get More Time to Apply.

USDA has given telecommunications companies until late May to apply for its Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program. Congress has awarded $1.1 billion for the pilot. These investments are expected to prioritize projects that deploy broadband infrastructure to rural areas which will expand both the availability and speed of rural broadband service.


I would rather walk with a friend in the dark than alone in the light. ~ Helen Keller

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. ~ Thomas Aquinas

Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. ~ George Washington

The better part of one's life consists of his friendships. ~ Abraham Lincoln

A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden. ~ Unknown


Mark your calendars for April 28-May 1, 2019 and come to Washington during a beautiful time of year for the annual National Grange Fly-In. We'll hear from issue experts, deliver Grange policy to government agencies and the Hill, and meet with Senators and Congressmen. Visit the National Grange website to more details.


Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

Download the Latest Newsletter

February 2019

In this issue:

• Master's Message
• Annual Masters' Conference yields great results
• 3 new benefits will save members big in tech, shipping, tickets
• Guest Column: How do we fix Dairy?
• New Jersey member interns at National HQ
• Letter to Editor: Book answers questions I didn't know I had
• National Lecturer provides overview
• Sign-up to Attend Mid-Atlantic Leaders Conference

• Grange Revival Registration Form
• REV 2019 Quilt Block Contest and Form
• Quilt Raffle and Grange Mercantile Info
• 2019 Theme One-Page Use Guide
• Grange Values Ad
• Grange Month Poster
• Toolkit: Grange Inventory
• 1 in 1,000 Club Membership Form
• Esto Perpetua: Giving Form
• Evening of Excellence Poster
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

Come help us celebrate the life of Johnny Alberto Squire on his beloved family ranch.

Spring and cotton planting season was one of his favorite times of the year.

Please wear comfortable clothes in a shade of blue. A Grange memorial service is scheduled for 2 PM. We plan to be serving favorite foods and pieces of chocolate cake, possibly with chocolate ice cream.

Please join us as friends, family, and "framily" (friends so close they are family). This is a celebration so "ya'll come" if you can.

Saturday, April 6, 2019
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Squire Family Ranch
47598 Coalinga Mineral Springs Rd, Coalinga, CA

Click Here to RSVP via Facebook

Lee Geiger
1935 - 2019

Dear Grange Brothers and Sisters,

Our Brother Leland "Lee" Geiger, past California State Grange Deputy, Past Master of Subordinate and Pomona Granges, Past State Grange Gatekeeper, and husband of State Grange Chaplain, Barbara Geiger, passed from this earth on on January 20, 2019.

Brother Lee was a stalwart member of the Grange and worked diligently at any task set to him. He did beautiful woodwork and made gavels for the State Grange Masters. He will be missed.

Arrangements are pending for a celebration of life. We send love and comfort to Sister Barbara and their family.

California State Grange - Child Protection Policy

Background Clearance Reminder

Hello Grange Brothers and Sisters, As a reminder, the California State Grange By-Laws require background checks for all adults (18 and over) working IN ANY CAPACITY with our Grange Youth and Junior-age members, under the age of 18.

Article VIII, Section 8.5.8 Special Requirements; Background Checks - It shall be a requirement that a background check shall be required for any appointments where the members’ duties will require any supervision of any Youth or Junior Members, under the age of 18.

If you are a Grange Leader for Youth, Junior, Fair, Project, Advisor, Committee member, or Officer, etc., please click the link below to request access for a background check. The cost for the background clearance is approximately $20.00. All of your personal identifying information is securely held by the background company and not by the California State Grange. If you hold multiple positions i.e. Youth Fair Leader and Project Leader, only one background clearance is required for all Grange positions. If you are cleared by your profession or another volunteer organization, a Grange background clearance is still required. Backgrounds cannot be shared between employment or volunteer organizations.

If you have any questions, please contact Lillian Booth, State Grange Secretary, at 916-454-5808 or

Thank you.

Open Background Access Request Form



Agriculture and Food

The Shutdown

The federal government partial shutdown has ended...for now. The longest shutdown in history is over until February 15 to give all parties the opportunity to negotiate a compromise on border security, security for Dreamers, and other immigration issues. This was called a partial shutdown because FY19 funding for some agencies had cleared Congress but funding for others had not. Many agencies of government that producers and rural residents depend upon were shuttered for over a month and employees were furloughed. Employees considered "essential" were expected to work during the shutdown. These included meat inspectors, TSA employees, safety and security personnel and the like. Lights were out in local Farm Service (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) offices but Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) employees remained on the job using surplus funds from last year's budget; this scenario is raising questions on Capitol Hill. SNAP recipients not only received their January benefits but are getting their February benefits early. This was made possible by an obscure provision in the now-expired (December 21) continuing resolution that allowed SNAP and child nutrition programs to use funds within 30 days of the CR's expiration. Market and economic reports were suspended but care for plants and animals at research facilities continued. Most economists reported the shutdown had a large negative effect in the nation's economy. Bipartisan lawmakers with reputations as "Deal Makers" from the House and Senate began meeting January 30 to seek a deal on border security that would prevent a second shutdown this year.

FSA Deadlines Extended

The Farm Service Agency has now extended program deadlines such as:

• Marketing Assistance Loans - February 14
• Market Facilitation - February 14
• Emergency Conservation - February 14
• Livestock Forage Disaster - February 28
• Emergency Assistance (livestock, honey bees, farm-raised fish) - February 14
• Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance - February 14
• Tree Assistance - February 14
• Acreage Reporting for Honey - February 14

A New Quarterback and Lots of Rookies

Colin Peterson (D-MN), the new chairman but seasoned veteran of the House Agriculture Committee, has a new Democratic majority that's nearly half newcomers. That's not all bad, but his chairman's role will include lots of educating. The new Democrats are Axne (IA-3), Brindishi (NY-22), Carbajai (CA-24), Harder (CA-10), Cox (CA-21), Craig (MN-2), Delgado (NY-19), Hayes (CT-2), Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Schrier (WA-8), Spanberger (VA-7) and Van Drew (NJ-2). New Republicans on the Ag Committee are Johnson (SD-All), Baird (IN-4), and Hagedorn (MN-1).

Regulatory Preview

What are the major agriculture regulatory challenges facing producers during 2019? Here are a few top-of -mind issues from across agriculture:
• Revised WOTUS rule. The "Waters of the US" proposed rule as revised is meant to replace the 2015 regulation that has been so controversial among landowners. The proposal attempts to clarify how EPA and The Corps distinguish between intermittent and ephemeral streams and allows states to claim jurisdiction over waters unclaimed by EPA and the Corps.
• Plant-based "milk". Grange policy supports the definition on the books at FDA that milk is the product of a lactating animal and wants FDA to enforce that regulation.
• "Healthy" definition. The food industry has long used the term "healthy" as a free-wheeling marketing tactic without having to define what healthy means. FDA will be proposing a rule that would require healthy claims to reflect current scientific and dietary guidelines.
• Produce safety. FDA is proposing to clarify when certain requirements of the Produce Safety Act do not apply. This should help the Grange's smaller produce growers.
• Cell-cultured meat. USDA and FDA have agreed to share regulatory oversight of lab grown meat. The agencies plan to issue regulatory guidance documents in coming months which the Grange will monitor closely. Bull Market Ending for Farm Land?

One dependable indicator of a farm's financial situation is a comparison between debt and the income available to service that debt. Farm debt in 2013 was $315 billion; today it is $409 billion. Net farm income in 2013 was $123 billion; last year net farm income was $66 billion. Interest rates are climbing making other investments more attractive than farm land. These appear to be warning signs of a possible slowdown for the farm land market.

Health Care

Opioids Remain a Rural Problem

The good news is that opioid prescribing rates are falling significantly. The bad news is that the percentage of patients prescribed an opioid is higher in rural than in urban areas according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug overdose is the leading cause of nonintentional injury-associated death in the United States. Higher rates of opioid deaths have been recorded in rural areas. In 2017, 14 rural counties were among the 15 counties nationwide with the highest opioid prescribing rates. Patients in rural counties had an 87% higher chance of receiving an opioid prescription compared with persons in urban counties.

Rural Elderly Care Challenges

People 65 years old and older make up over 14 percent of the country's population. That same population is responsible for 34 percent of health care-related spending, according to the National Rural Health Association. But here's an even more sobering statistic: every day more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old and one in four of those seniors live in rural or small town areas. Major challenges to future care of these seniors are rural hospital closures, nursing home closures and qualified staffing shortages. Infrastructure is another challenge as rural and small town areas struggle to provide health clinics, safe and affordable housing, and high speed broadband internet to connect with telemedicine, tele-education and more. Most elderly people in rural and small town America want to age in place at home in their community. Some elder care groups suggest that one way to address the scarcity of services is for providers to diversify and provide medical attention, assisted living, home care, meals and transportation through one organization.

National Grange Files Comments

The National Grange joined several patient groups to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at HHS to consider the success of Part D and Medicare Advantage as the agency prepares proposals to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. The current program has successfully provided beneficiaries with access to prescription drugs and self-administered drugs. While the National Grange supports CMS' goal to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, the Grange is concerned that proposed policy changes generally favor health plans rather than focusing on patient care and program transparency. The Grange also expressed opposition to proposed step therapy because it would be an impediment to prescribed therapy, particularly for patients who require timely and personalized Part B medications.

Immigration/AG Workforce

Green Card or Blue Card

Older farmers and ranchers remember the "Green Card" that allowed workers to legally enter the U.S. for short term employment. They contend it worked well and should never have been discontinued. Now, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA 2) have introduced legislation to create a similar "Blue Card" program. Their bill enjoys a large number of cosponsors. It would provide the agriculture industry with a more stable workforce and allow an eventual path to citizenship. The National Grange will push for hearings but remains skeptical that Congress has the will allow ag workforce legislation to pass without holding it hostage to other immigration issues.

Three Big Immigration Issues Congress Can Tackle

Michael Wildes is the mayor of Englewood, N.J. and managing partner of Wildes and Weinberg P.C. specializing in immigration law. Wildes laments the fact that immigration reform has eluded all efforts at reform for a generation. But the system is in dire need of reform he says. Here are three big immigration items he suggests Congress tackle:

• Upgrade Immigration Courts. Immigration courts are small, overcrowded, and places where judges hand out trial dates two and three years in the future. He says hiring more immigration judges and restoring a level of autonomy to trial attorneys would go a long way to alleviating the excessive court backlogs.
• Legalize Dreamers. These are legal recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and have lived here continuously since 2007. They are 800,000 students, college graduates, professionals and parents. They have been granted permission to work, attend school and live in the U.S., but if they leave, they cannot reenter.
• Address Root Causes of Central American Refugees. Wildes says the fundamental cause of our Central American refugee crisis is the violence and instability in their home countries. He favors cooperation with law enforcement in those countries, improving economic conditions through foreign investment, free trade agreements, and volunteer initiatives.


More Rural Broadband Funding

The Senate-House conference committee on USDA appropriations has awarded $550 million in additional funds to a rural broadband loan and grant program created by Congress last year with an initial appropriation of $600 million. Projects must serve communities of less than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10/1 Mbps.

Bridging the Rural Broadband Gap

A recent editorial in the Washington Examiner by National Grange President Betsy Huber applauded the Federal Communications Commission for its leadership toward closing the rural-urban digital divide. She then suggested the FCC make two changes to enhance rural efforts. The first is better data collection accuracy in rural areas which should be far different compared to urban areas. The second is to allow providers to wirelessly deliver broadband to rural communities using unused spectrum between broadcast television stations.

Check Your State Laws

Your state might need to update its laws to better compete for the new $1.15 billion USDA funding for rural broadband projects and grants. Some states restrict rural electric cooperatives to only provide electric services to customers. In these states, such laws may have to be changed to allow electric co-ops to deliver broadband service or create public-private partnerships with rural telephone cooperatives.


The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them everlasting gratitude. ~ Jeff Miller

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. ~ Eckhart Tolle

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things he has not but rejoices for those which he has. ~ Epictetus

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. ~ Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. ~ William James

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

Download This Newsletter

January 2019

In this issue:

• Time is now to register for Grange Revival 2019
• National Grange Fly-in Registration Now Open
• Use Grange Theme All Year, Following Guidelines Very Important
• Membership Department provides Planning Tool
• 2 Deadlines Fast Approaching for Youth Opportunities
• Sign-up to Attend Mid-Atlantic Leaders Conference
• New Grange Radio Programming Hits the Air
• Updates made to Grange in Action Program
• Mascot for Community Service Department Introduced
• National Lecturer provides Revised 2019 Quilt Block Info

• Grange Revival Registration Form
• REV 2019 Quilt Block Contest and Form
• 2019 Theme One-Page Use Guide
• NEW Grange Values Ad
• Grange Month Poster
• Toolkit: Grange Inventory
• 1 in 1,000 Club Membership Form
• Esto Perpetua: Giving Form
• Grange Food Security Survey
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

Jan Saxton joined the Grange in 2003 when she moved to the tiny town of Aromas on the Central Coast. The Aromas Grange had reorganized around 1999/2000 and it was an active, happening place. When Jan first moved to Aromas her mom told her she had to go to the monthly Grange pancake breakfast. Through the folks she met there, she volunteered to help with an auction on her first Aromas Day, which turned out to be a fundraiser for the Aromas Grange’s scholarship fund. It was a very successful fundraiser—in more ways than one. It was through the scholarship auction that she met her sweetheart and partner for fifteen years, Rich Saxe. Through her relationship with Rich, who was President at the time, she became deeply involved with the Aromas Grange.

After helping to build the Aromas Grange into a thriving organization, with a growing membership and lots of popular events and activities, Rich and Jan served for two years as State Membership Directors under State Grange President Randy Lewis. In that capacity they reached out to as many Granges as they could, traveling around our beautiful state, meeting with folks and encouraging them to open their halls and invite their communities to join them. One of Jan’s particular passions is encouraging new Grangers to come to Convention and encouraging all Granges to send delegates every year. She believes that experiencing the State Convention and participating in the degree work really deepens a member’s understanding of the Grange, how it works and what it stands for. Besides, how often do you get to experience true participatory democracy in action?

Jan served two terms as President of the Aromas Grange, during which she forged a relationship with the Community Foundation for Monterey County. A fundraising grant from the Community Foundation led to a successful capital campaign and a new—and much needed—commercial kitchen for the Aromas Grange Hall. Jan is looking forward to sharing what she learned from their professional fundraising consultant with anyone who wants to learn to raise more money. She is a Past Vice President, a Past Executive Committee Member and currently is the Chaplain. She is Director of the Teressie White Memorial Scholarship Foundation, the Aromas Grange’s scholarship fund. Before moving to Aromas, Jan raised her four sons in Carmel Valley, California, where she volunteered at the local elementary school, the scouts, and the Little League. When her sons were all in school, Jan went back to college and graduated from UCSC with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies in 1998.

As Vice President of the CSG, Jan is looking forward to traveling the state again to visit as many Granges and meet up with as many Grangers as possible. She is grateful for all the people involved with the Grange and the work they have done for generations to keep our organization alive and our halls standing. One of the things Jan likes best about the Grange is that it is a place where we can get to know people with very different opinions and perspectives than our own, work side by side, and become friends with them. In these times, she believes that is an especially valuable thing. We don’t have to agree on stuff to become friends with folks, we just have to be friendly.

The California State Grange and Orangevale Grange invite all to a CELEBRATION OF LIFE for our brother, Ed Komski

Please bring photos, stories, and your instruments to play music. Ed loved nothing better than a good jam session of musicians, laughing and playing together. Ed's favorite dessert was sprinkle-covered cupcakes

Come and share in a very special day full of love, memories, music, laughter, and sprinkles.

Saturday, January 26, 2019
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Orangevale Grange Hall
5807 Walnut, Orangevale, CA

Contact Lillian Booth, California State Grange Secretary, 916-454-5808 with any questions.

Hope to see you there,
Kent Westwood,
Master/President California State Grange

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The first session of the 116th Congress opens the first week of January. Democrats control the House of Representatives with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) as Speaker. The Senate continues to be controlled by Republicans with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Majority Leader. The federal government continues in a partial shutdown mode because of a stalemate between President Trump and Democrats over funding for the border wall and several other immigration issues. The shutdown affects several unfunded departments and agencies including USDA, EPA, and Interior. Locally, agencies such as county Farm Service Agency offices have closed, new rural development and other grants and loans are suspended, research facilities except for care for animals and plants are closed, and economic and statistical reports will not be issued. However, USDA's Market News Service will continue to operate. On other fronts, protecting Medicare Part B and Part D are ongoing Grange initiatives; rural broadband continues to expand; cable programming may need some safeguards

Farm Bill

Legislation Becomes Law

In December, the new farm bill passed with huge bipartisan majorities in the Senate (87-13) and House (369-47). Following its passage, National Grange President Betsy Huber issued the following statement: "America's farmers, ranchers and landowners have a reasonable, balanced, common-sense $867 billion farm bill headed to the President's desk today. The bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 87-13 and in the House by 369-47. The package now gives much needed multi-year certainty to commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation, farm loans, beginning farmers and ranchers, SNAP assistance, nutrition programs, foreign markets promotion and more. It also establishes a new Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank. "I want to thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Minority member Debbie Stabenow for their bipartisan leadership to get this done. Both have proven themselves worthy to have named National Grange Champions of Rural America (Stabenow in 2017 and Roberts in 2018)".


USDA's four trade promotion programs were funded at $251.5 million per year.

Commodity Programs
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage are similar to the 2014 farm bill with several enhancements on reference prices and yield data
  • Loan rates are increased substantially
  • The new Dairy Margin Coverage Program builds on the recent Margin Protection Program passed in February by reducing premiums on the first 5 million pounds of production (about 240 cows) and raises the top margin coverage from $8 per hundredweight to $9.50
  • Does not set payment limits on eligibility for commodity program payments

  • The Environmental Quality Incentives Program has increased funding; the Conservation Stewardship Program has reduced funding but is preserved as a standalone program
  • Conservation Reserve Program enrollment is increased from 24 million acres to 27 million acres
  • The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is now a standalone with its own rules separate from other conservation programs from which it was previously funded

  • Additional work requirements and tightened eligibility requirements were omitted from the final Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provision; governors will be required to approve state agency applications to USDA for waivers from the existing work requirements
  • The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program is given permanent funding and is renamed the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program for the former USDA Undersecretary and Grange member from Massachusetts

Farm loan limits on operating and ownership loans are increased ($1.75 million on guaranteed operating and ownership loans; $600,000 on direct ownership loans; direct operating loans are raised to $400,000).

Rural Development

  • Provides permanent authority and rules for the $600 million rural broadband grant and loan program created by the fiscal 2018 spending bill.
  • Prioritizes funding for projects to combat opioid addiction and authorizes a 33 percent increase in grants under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program


Funding is increased for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative


Renews the categorical exclusion that allows diseased and insect infested trees to be removed from government forests.


Renews the authorization but reduces the funding for bioenergy programs.


  • Legalizes the production of industrial hemp
  • Creates a new Local Agriculture Market Program
  • Creates a new Urban, Indoor and Other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative
  • Maintains funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants
  • Authorizes USDA to require additional documentation for shipments from abroad under the National Organic Program

Crop Insurance

  • Hemp is made eligible for crop insurance
  • Discounts for beginning farmers and ranchers are extended to 10 years from the current 5 years under Whole Farm Revenue Protection
  • New policies will be researched by USDA to cover crops affected by hurricanes and tropical storms


  • Creates and funds a new Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program that includes a new Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank
  • Creates a new Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program
  • Requires the President to nominate an undersecretary for rural development

Waters of the United States

In early December, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released their highly anticipated proposal to replace the definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) which determines the scope of waters and wetlands that fall under the federal Clean Water Act. The proposal would eliminate ephemeral streams (those created by rainfall and snowmelt) from federal jurisdiction, tighten guidelines for when other streams and wetlands are considered for federal protection, exclude ditches unless they contribute flow to a "waters of the U.S", exclude farm ponds, log cleaning ponds and cooling ponds, and require wetlands to be physically connected to other jurisdictional waters to fall within the scope of WOTUS. Farmers, ranchers, landowners, builders, and other businesses welcomed the new definition while several conservation and environmental groups were critical. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day comment period. If the rule becomes final, it is almost certain to face legal challenges.

Disclosure of Bioengineered Foods

USDA has announced the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard to require food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to identify foods that are or may be bioengineered. The standard defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature.

SNAP Changes Proposed

Late in December, USDA issued a proposed rule to significantly amend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the first time in 22 years. The proposed change would prevent states from getting waivers from work and job training requirements unless their unemployment rate is at least 7 percent. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day public comment period and will likely face legal challenges if enacted.

Antibiotics Use in Livestock Falls by a Third

Usage of medically important antibiotics in food production has fallen sharply according to the Food and Drug Administration. Antimicrobials important to human health are no longer allowed to be used for growth promotion purposes in livestock and may only be obtained through a veterinarian's order to treat sick animals.

Health Care

Medical Device Tax

The National Grange joined a large group of patient advocates to call for permanent repeal of the medical device tax in a letter to Senate and House leadership. New medical technology discoveries are critical to diagnosing and treating disease and conditions that significantly impact patients' lives. Since the tax is levied on revenues, not profits, it is particularly challenging for smaller companies which make up 80 percent of the industry and are the source of much innovation.

Protect Medicare Part D

Because Part D is so important to Grange members, the National Grange joined other patient groups in a letter to Congress opposing any proposal that would repeal the program's non-interference clause. The clause states that manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and insurance companies must negotiate directly to reach the lowest possible prices for prescription medications.

Medicare Part B Demonstration Questioned

The National Grange has urged Senate and House leaders to question a potentially harmful Medicare Part B demonstration by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The proposed CMS International Pricing Index demonstration would import foreign-based price controls regardless of value or innovation and interjects new middlemen between physicians and patients with complex life-threatening conditions.


Rural Veterans Need the Lifeline Program

The National Grange filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission to support access to affordable rural broadband for the 24 percent of America's veterans who live in rural America. The filing urged the FCC to preserve no-cost Lifeline offerings, implement the National Verifier in a common sense, straight-forward way, and reexamine the minimum standard regulations that could lead to the elimination of no-cost Lifeline services.

Binding Arbitration for Comcast/NBCUniversal

The National Grange wrote the chairmen and ranking minority members of the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law regarding the expiring terms of the Comcast/NBCU merger. The Grange suggested that binding arbitration be required to settle program access disputes, that sensible safeguards are necessary to protect consumer prices and assess to programming, and that protections for independent programmers be established.

Raising the Bar for Rural Broadband

The USDA will now require its rural broadband projects to provide access speeds of at least 25 megabits per second upload and 3 megabits per second download as mandated in the new farm bill. Funded projects must serve communities of less than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10/I Mbps. Projects will compete for $600 million provided by Congress earlier this year.


"I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you're doing". ~ Jim Gaffigan

"Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space". ~ Evan Esar

"Parents are the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you had to earn it". ~ Ann Brashares

"Never lend your car to someone to whom you have given birth". ~ Erma Bombeck

"A man travels the world over to in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it". ~ George Moore

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

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As you may recall, Judge Shubb sanctioned the California Guild in 2016 for its “deliberate and willful” violation of his injunction prohibiting it from using the “Grange” name. The Guild initially paid that sanctions award using charitable Grange funds held by the California Grange Foundation and Grange trust funds held in the California State Grange’s asset management account at Morgan Stanley that was subject to Judge Brown’s preliminary injunction. To keep the National Grange from realizing that the sanctions were being paid with Grange funds, the Guild routed those monies through the bank account of its now-disqualified attorneys at the Ellis Law Group.

When it learned last year of the true source of this laundered money, the National Grange moved to set aside the judgment and reinstate the sanctions award. Judge Shubb granted the motion and reinstated a sanctions award of $102,707.78. The National Grange thereafter filed a motion for an order assigning all dues payments and loan repayments that the Guild is set to receive from its local chapters until the outstanding sanctions award is paid in full.

On January 2, 2019, Judge Shubb entered an order granting the motion and assigning all payments to the National Grange. In particular, Judge Shubb ordered that:
  »1. All membership dues due to [the Guild] now or in the future from the local chapters … are hereby assigned to [the National Grange] to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s post judgment order (Docket No. 235);
  »2. All payments due to [the Guild] now or in the future pursuant to loans defendant made to the local chapters … are hereby assigned to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s post judgment order.
  »3. [The Guild] is hereby enjoined from assigning, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of the payments discussed in (1) and (2) to any other person or entity until it has satisfied the court’s post judgment order.
  »4. Counsel for [the National Grange] shall serve a copy of this Order on the local chapters.

So what does this assignment order mean? If your Grange is in good standing and is making payments to the California State Grange, nothing changes. But if you are a member of a group that has been making payments to the Guild, expect to receive a letter from the National Grange’s lawyer enclosing Judge’s Order. I urge you to read it closely and follow it to the letter. If you have any doubts about what is required, please consult with a non-conflicted attorney so that you fully understand your legal obligations. Given the Guild’s past behavior (which resulted in the sanctions award in the first place), the court is unlikely to look kindly at violations of its latest order.

After over six years of litigation, the lawsuits against the Guild are wrapping up. Both the state and the federal courts have delivered resounding victories to the Grange and made clear that the rules of our Order have meaning and will be enforced in California. Continued litigation is not going to change things at this late stage – it is just going to line the lawyers’ pockets. The California State Grange continues to move to restore our Order, and is actively assisting Granges throughout the state as they rebuild. If your Grange would like to move forward with the rest of the Order and return to good standing, please contact me or Lillian Booth. The California State Grange stands ready to help in any way we can.

We always encourage everybody to read the actual court documents for themselves, but this one in particular is worth a read.

Click here to read full order.

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