News Archives - 2018

This page is the archive for news stories that appeared in 2018. Articles are by date issued in desending order.
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June 2018

Nomination Period Open for
Grange Communication Fellows Program

Dear Patrons,

We invite you to apply to become a 2018 Communications Fellow at the 152nd Annual National Grange Convention in Stowe, Vermont. This opportunity is made possible thanks to generous funding provided by TracFone but there are VERY limited spots available and those who become fellows are expected to make time for training prior to the start of National Convention.


Through the program, participants receive a 9-night stay at the convention resort hotel, free registration, and most meals for the duration of the program. Participants are only responsible for the cost of travel and a few small meals. They are encouraged to bring a small amount of money for snacks, personal items and souvenirs they wish to purchase during their time at the convention. FELLOWS MUST ARRIVE AT THE HOTEL IN STOWE BY NO LATER THAN 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 and can leave anytime Sunday, Nov. 18.

This year, Fellows will hear from the National Master, National Grange Staff and Officers, other communications professionals and more. Fellows will produce content for the daily convention newsletter, interviews for Grange Radio and Good Day!™ magazine, take photos, livestream events, and produce short blurbs for social media - and much more. This is a hands-on training with a support from many of the 35 plus previous Fellows who participated. Those previous Fellows now hold many significant offices and jobs in their State and National Grange and often credit the program with providing them insight into the differences across State Granges and the opportunities and challenges to the organization, as well as great motivation for being part of our next 150 years of service.


Nominees must complete the attached form with writing sample (described in form) and provide their own letter of interest in the program (typed).

The deadline for all materials to be submitted by email to the National Grange Communications Department is PRIOR to "start of business" (9 a.m. Eastern) Wednesday, August 1.

Early submissions will receive priority evaluation. Those who have not participated in the past will receive highest priority. Please inform the Communications Department as soon as you know you will be applying, even if you have not yet completed the application materials, so we are prepared to organize submissions accordingly and let us know who your recommendation letter will come from. We will follow up with you and them if we do not receive the letter in a timely fashion. A committee of the National Master, National Communications Director and at least one prior Communications Fellow will participate to make the final decision regarding placement. Decisions regarding participants is expected by noon on Monday, August 6.


*State Masters/National Delegates, National Grange Officers, National Grange Staff and former Communication Fellows are permitted to nominate no more than two Grange members in good standing for the program. Nominees do not need to reside in the same state as the nominator, however the nominator should have great knowledge of the skills, personality and commitment of the person they nominate. Nominators are asked to write a letter of recommendation, noting the following:
• How long has the nominator known the nominee?
• What makes the nominee stand out as a member?
• What does the nominator believe the nominee will bring to the program?
• What skills does the nominator believe the nominee can learn or most improve in the program and how will that positively impact their local, State or the National Grange?
• Do you believe this person will be committed to assisting throughout the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the National Grange at the local and State Grange levels?
• Do you believe this person understands or is interested in programming and membership (recruitment, retention, engagement)?

Send any questions or all nominating material to

2018 Fellows Application Sheet




June was an active legislative time in Washington. After the defeat of the farm bill on the House floor May 18, there was a scramble to bring the farm bill back to the floor before the June 22 deadline to reconsider. The farm bill was not defeated on its merits or the lack thereof; it was used as leverage to force the House leadership to allow members to vote on a comprehensive immigration bill. The hardline immigration bill, which included Rep. Goodlatte's ag worker provisions, was voted on and defeated which cleared the way for reconsideration of the farm bill. House members passed their version farm bill June 22 on a party-line margin of two votes, 213-211. Deep partisan divides in the House continue over SNAP work requirements and several ag policy provisions.

Over in the Senate, it looked like a different political world. Ag Committee chairman Roberts and ranking minority member Stabenow had worked together for several months with committee members and members of their own parties to craft the sections of a bipartisan farm bill capable of broad Senate support. When the committee began markup June 13, the bill passed out of committee in a record three hours on a 20-1 vote; the one dissenting vote was over a procedural issue, not against the farm bill.

Appropriations committees in both the House and Senate continue their progress to pass individual appropriations bills for FY'19 which begins October 1.

Health care is always high on the agenda at the National Grange. The National Grange is partnering with a National opioid crisis action coalition, Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI), to mobilize local communities and advocacy leaders to actively address our nation's opioid crisis. Also this month, the price of drugs, access to affordable medical care, Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services regulatory authority, opioid legislation, and several more health care issues were in the Grange spotlight.

Rural broadband expansion continues to get priority attention at the Federal Communications Commission, USDA, the White House and from rural members of Congress. That's good news for one of the National Grange's top policy priorities. Congress is out of Washington the week of July 2 for their annual July 4 recess.

Food and Agriculture

Senate Adopts Farm Bill

Senators passed their bipartisan version of the farm bill June 28 after just two days of floor debate by a wide margin of 86-11. The Senate bill closely follows the structure of the 2014 farm bill. Traditional farm bill amendments to cut subsidies for crop insurance, eliminate the sugar program and revamp the SNAP food assistance programs were not offered on the Senate floor.

An amendment by Thune (R-SD) was adopted to add flexibility for landowners to cut hay and graze livestock on Conservation Reserve Program lands. Included in a package of agreed-upon amendments before final passage, was a measure to allow farmers to change their choice of the Agriculture Risk Coverage and the Price Loss Coverage program in the 2021 crop year. Also included in the agreed-upon package was a National Grange-supported amendment by Grassley (R-IA) to redefine the "actively engaged in farming "rules for commodity subsidy payments. The Grassley amendment tightens the definition of farm management for the purpose of qualifying for commodity programs. Farm operations would be restricted to having one non-farming manager who could qualify for $125,000 a year in subsidies as a manager. This change is in line with National Grange policy to support family farms that are owned and operated by members of a family who make the management and financial decisions and supply at least part of the labor.

Senate passage clears the way for a Senate-House conference committee to be appointed from both committees' membership and from Senate and House leadership to resolve section-by-section differences between the two. In some areas, the Senate and House bills are the same or quite similar. In other instances, the bills are sharply different. These difficult differences are SNAP/food assistance rules, commodity program payment limitations, treatment of partnerships and S corporations, and acres in the Conservation Reserve program as examples.

Ag Committee leadership in both House and Senate expect to go to conference following the July 4 recess with the hope of wrapping up a final farm bill package before Congress' August recess.

Health Care

It's no secret that the United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. With 174 people dying each day, drug deaths outnumber lives lost in car accidents or gun-related homicides. While no corner of the nation has gone untouched, the opioid epidemic has hit rural areas particularly hard. Rural and small town America are well aware of the opioid and addictive drug crisis around us. A recent survey by the Farmers Union and Farm Bureau found three of every four farmers and ranchers have been directly impacted by opioids use either personally or by family members, employees, neighbors or someone close in the community.

In many areas, employers report they are desperate to hire new employees. Unfortunately, these same employers consistently report a majority of prospective employees are disqualified because they fail the pre-employment drug test.

States report the opioid-fentanyl-heroin crisis is putting pressure on foster care systems already at or near capacity. The Department of Health and Human Services reports the crisis has struck across racial and generational lines, putting our entire population at risk. The intergenerational group Generations United research shows parental substance abuse is the most common reason grandfamilies come together to raise children who would otherwise go into foster care. Senators Collins (R-ME) and Casey (D-PA) won Senate passage June 21 of their bipartisan bill, Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S.1091), which would create a one-stop-shop of resources to support grandparents raising grandchildren.

The National Grange has partnered with the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) coalition to work on comprehensive policies that help save lives. RALI partners with state and local community-based organizations to engage policymakers, sponsor print and digital advertisements, provide educational kits, distribute drug disposal kits, and sponsor in-person events. Granges in several target states are RALI partners and several more targeted state Granges are gearing up to participate.

The House overwhelmingly passed broad bipartisan opioid legislation on June 22. The measure combined more than 50 individual bills and focuses on expanding access to treatments, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments, and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Walden (R-OR) deserves much of the credit for this legislative victory. The House opioid package, which has been endorsed by the White House, now heads to the Senate.

Drug and Treatment Affordability

The National Grange and several state Granges cosigned coalition letters and wrote individual letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar urging increased HHS oversight of the 340B specialty drug program so that vulnerable or uninsured patients receive outpatient drug discounts the law requires. Similar letters were sent to Secretary Azar expressing support for the patient-popular Medicare Part D program and its ability to ensure access and affordability of treatment for all patients.


Internet Regulations

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overturned a set of regulations promulgated in 2015 that treated the Internet much the same as a 1930's telephone monopoly. As a result of the 2015 actions, broadband deployment slowed to rural communities and small towns. Overturning the 2015 rules should spur renewed interest in rural broadband investment. National Grange president Betsy Huber released a statement complimenting the FCC on its action.

More Broadband Efforts

The FCC plans to fuel another round of rural broadband expansion in July with a $198 million a year auction to subsidize new service in rural areas. The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is open to rural telcos, electric co-ops, cable operators, price-cap carriers, satellite companies, and fixed wireless providers.


Legislation Rejected

The House defeated two major immigration bills in June. The first was a hardline comprehensive reform package that included Representative Goodlatte's (R-VA) ag worker section; it was defeated 193-218. A week later a more narrow compromise bill that provided a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, ended family separations at the border, ended the diversity lottery system, and funded the border wall was defeated 129-301. Immigration reform is an explosive political issue for vastly different reasons. That's why we haven't been able to accomplish comprehensive immigration since 1986.

Thread of Hope for Ag Worker Bill

Republicans and Democrats from rural and small town areas have been assured a vote on a narrow ag worker immigration bill in July. That's wonderful. However, agriculture isn't holding its breath. The devil's in the details which are still being written and there's a danger the ag worker bill will be held hostage as leverage for another broader immigration bill.

Waters of the United States

A recent district court ruling has suspended the 2015 WOTUS rule in 11 more states bringing the total to 24 states. The Administration has taken public comment on withdrawing the 2015 rule and putting another one in its place. On June 15, EPA and the Corps of Engineers sent their new proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for review but there were no details available to the public.

Psycopaths Anyone?

Psychopaths are described as superficially charming, tend to make good first impressions, and strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest, undependable, and largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love, according to a study from Southern Methodist University. So what area of the United States ranks highest in the number of psychopaths in the study? Our nation's capital, Washington, DC.

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

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National Funding

Opportunities Throughout the U.S.

Challenge Promotes Financial Security Solutions in the U.S. and Canada

TD Bank Group: TD Ready Challenge

The TD Ready Challenge, an initiative of the TD Bank Group, is an annual North American initiative that provides up to ten $1 million (CAD) grants to catalyze innovative solutions for a changing world. Grants are awarded to organizations in the United States and Canada that have scalable solutions that will help open doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. The theme of the 2018 Challenge is Financial Security. Support will be provided to organizations with innovative solutions focused on helping create greater income stability in a changing world, including those that will help prepare people for the economy of the future so that everyone can thrive. Applications must address the 2018 problem statement and propose a scalable pre-existing solution that is tested, innovative, and achievable. The application deadline is July 27, 2018. Visit the TD Bank website to learn more about the Challenge.

Support for K-12 School Improvement Projects

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant Program

The Toolbox for Education Grant Program, offered by Lowe’s Gives Foundation, provides grants from $2,000 to $100,000 to public K-12 schools, as well as parent-teacher groups associated with those public schools. Projects should fall into one of the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations, and safety improvements. Projects should address a critical need and align with Lowe’s company purpose—to help people love where they live. The 2018 fall grant cycle opens on August 6 and closes on September 28. For more information, visit

Anti-Poverty Efforts Funded Nationwide

Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), established by the Catholic bishops of the United States, is committed to supporting organizations led by low-income individuals as they work to break the cycle of poverty and improve their communities. CCHD’s grant programs include the following: Community Development Grants support nonprofit organizations that nurture the participation of people living in poverty to change structures and policies that affect their lives. At least 50 percent of those benefiting from the applying organization's efforts must be people experiencing poverty. Economic Development Grants support economic development institutions that include the voice of the poor and marginalized in developing new businesses that offer good jobs or develop assets that will be owned by local communities. Grants range between $25,000 and $75,000. Pre-applications for both programs may be submitted between September 1 and November 1, annually. (Organizations are encouraged to submit their pre-application prior to the November 1 deadline.) Visit the CCHD website for more information.

Grants Enhance Education and Youth Development

Kars4Kids Small Grant Program

Kars4Kids is a national Jewish nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping children develop into productive members of communities throughout the United States. The Kars4Kids Small Grant Program provides support to nonprofit organizations that are working to make a difference in the areas of education and youth development. Grants generally range from $500 to $2,000. Online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Kars4Kids website to learn more about the Small Grant Program.

Regional Funding

Opportunities for Specific Areas

Organizations in Bank Communities Supported

BBVA Compass Foundation

The BBVA Compass Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that are making a positive impact in the communities the bank serves in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas. The Foundation’s focus areas include community development/financial literacy, education, health and human services, arts and culture, environment and natural resources, and diversity and inclusion. Online applications are due September 28, 2018. (Prior to submitting a grant request, first time applicants must join one of the Charitable Contributions Process Conference Calls/Webinar Presentations to be held on July 20, August 17, and September 14.) Visit the bank’s website to learn more about the Foundation’s guidelines and application process.

Grants Promote Broadband Services in Company Markets

Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program

The Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program supports nonprofit organizations that educate community members on the benefits of broadband and how to use it to improve their lives. Applying organizations must serve communities located in a Spectrum market. Priority is given to programs focused on families and seniors who have been historically underrepresented in broadband services. Funded programs should have a lasting, meaningful, and tangible impact (e.g. development of a new digital site or app, expansion of the capacity of a digital learning center, creation of a mobile computer lab, etc.). There is no cap on the number of grants awarded; however, except in special circumstances grant awards will not exceed $50,000. Applications will be accepted from July 30 through August 31, 2018. Visit the Spectrum Digital Education website to review the selection criteria and submit an online application.

Federal Funding

Opportunities from the U.S. Government

Funds Available to Address Opioid Use

Department of Health and Human Services The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program - Planning supports treatment for and prevention of substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder, in rural counties at the highest risk. The application deadline is July 30, 2018. Program Improves Job Prospects for Public Housing Residents Department of Housing and Urban Development The Jobs Plus Initiative provides support to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing. The application deadline is August 14, 2018.

Sadness hits the Grange - Jay Hartz 10/8/1940 ~ 6/26/18

Jay was a steady and friendly face of the Grange for many years. His work in the State Headquarters, running the office and head of "all things" never will be duplicated. He and Peggy's passion run deep in the Grange.

The Hartz were so excited to hear the news about our re-dedication, they donated a new tree for what we now call "Hartz Square" in the front of the California State Grange HQ's building, dedicated just this past weekend. Jay was most recently our "go to guy" when we couldn't figure out what something was in the office. But he was much more then that, he was a great, hard working, loyal and prideful Grange Member. He will be missed!

Jays passion, a smile a chuckle and a great meal.

Please welcome Danville Grange #85 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, Danville Grange #85 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Danville Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Danville Grange #85
1947 Diablo Rd.
Danville, CA 94526

View their Facebook Page

National Grange Presents the Journal of Proceedings 2017 Edition Now Available

The National Grange presents the 2017 Journal of Proceedings from the 151st Annual Convention in Spokane, Washington.

Visit the National Grange website or click on the link in this email to download this important publication.

You can also purchase a printed version from the Grange Supply Store for only $5.

Download this publication

Purchase this publication

Through conversation, knowledge, respect, passion, transparency and understanding, one by one, with the old and the new, we are building our fraternal order and communities, toward a positive future, utilizing the strength within the Grange, proven through a 150 year commitment to our members.

Please welcome Mt. Hamilton Grange #469 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:,Mt. Hamilton Grange #469 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Mt. Hamilton Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Mt. Hamilton Grange # 469
2840 Aborn Rd
San Jose, CA

View Mt. Hamilton Grange website

National Funding Opportunities Throughout the U.S.

Support for Music Education Programs Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation

The Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation is dedicated to shaping the next generation through music education and believes that every child should have access and opportunity to participate in a quality program. The Foundation is focused on the following five priorities: student achievement and participation, public private collaboration, music education innovation, music educator support, and research. First year grant requests should not exceed $20,000. Applications will be accepted from July 1 through July 31, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about the application guidelines.

Native Fish Protection Initiatives Funded

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Bring Back the Natives The Bring Back the Natives program, an initiative of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), invests in conservation activities that restore, protect, and enhance native populations of sensitive or listed fish species across the United States, especially in areas on or adjacent to federal agency lands. The program emphasizes coordination between private landowners and federal agencies, tribes, corporations, and states to improve the ecosystem functions and health of watersheds. Priority will be given to projects that address the leading factors in native fish species decline such as habitat alteration, environmental change, and invasive species. Grant awards will generally range in size from $50,000 to $100,000, and require at least one-to-one matching funds. Eligible applicants include local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies; special districts; nonprofit organizations; and schools and universities. The pre-proposal deadline is June 28, 2018; invited full proposals will be due August 23, 2018. Visit the NFWF website to review the 2018 Request for Proposals.

Grants Promote Social Justice Through Media and Entertainment Channels

Pop Culture Collaborative: Pop Up Rapid Response Grants

The Pop Culture Collaborative represents an innovative hub for high impact partnerships and grants designed to help organizations and individuals leverage the reach and power of pop culture for social justice goals. Pop Up Rapid Response Grants are designed to help organizations working to build movements, drive campaigns, produce stories, and leverage media and entertainment mediums to drive positive narrative and social change in popular culture. Funded projects must impact, support, or engage at least one of these community groups: people of color, immigrants, refugees, or Muslims. Examples of funded projects include public events and private retreats; tool and resource prototypes; network and partnership building; story, narrative, and strategy design process; and creative content including short film/video, concerts, music recordings, etc. Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000. Requests may be submitted at any time by nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, and individuals. Visit the Collaborative’s website to learn more about the Pop Up Rapid Response Grants program.

Youth Environmental Community Service Projects Supported

Captain Planet Foundation: ecoSolution Grants

The Captain Planet Foundation supports educational programs that enable youth to understand and appreciate our world by getting involved in hands-on projects to improve the environment. The Foundation provides ecoSolution Grants to innovative programs that inspire youth to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. Public schools and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants of $500 to $2,500. Priority is given to projects with matching funds or in-kind support. The final application deadline for 2018 is July 15. Online application guidelines are available on the Foundation’s website.

Regional Funding:

Opportunities for Specific Areas

Funds for Trauma Support Organizations in Communities Affected by Disasters

Alliance for Strong Families and Communities: Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster, an initiative launched by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the New York Life Insurance Company, will support nonprofit community-based organizations providing long-term trauma and grief support to those in geographic areas impacted by major weather disasters in 2017, including Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, and the California wildfires, as well as significant human-made tragedies that have occurred in Parkland, FL; Las Vegas, NV; and Sutherland Springs, TX. Types of organizations eligible to apply include community centers, affordable housing programs, early childhood education and care programs, youth and family programs, etc. Applicants must have experience with trauma-informed care or grief services. A total of $750,000 in support will be provided; funded organizations will receive awards of up to $50,000. The application deadline is July 13, 2018. Visit the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities to download the request for proposals.

Support for Organizations in Company Communities

Gannett Foundation: Community Action Grant Program

The Gannett Foundation provides support to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities where Gannett Co., Inc., owns a newspaper or broadcast station. The Foundation’s Community Action Grant Program’s priorities include education, neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Grants are generally in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. Grant requests are considered twice each year; the upcoming postmark deadline is August 17, 2018, for most locations. Proposals should be submitted to the local newspaper publisher or TV station general manager. Visit the Foundation’s website to review the grant guidelines and download the application form.

Technology Programs to Assist Californians with Disabilities Funded

Disability Communications Fund

The Disability Communications Fund (DCF) supports nonprofit organizations that offer technology and programs that serve the communication needs of Californians with disabilities. DCF’s funding priorities for the 2019 Grant Program include the following: Training AT and AAC Experts, Facilitating Research and Innovation, and Building Networks and Replicating Successful Models. Grants of $10,000 to $100,000 will be provided. The deadline for letters of intent is August 8, 2018; full grant applications are due October 5, 2018. Visit the DCF website to learn more about the funding priorities and the application process.

Federal Funding:

Opportunities from the U.S. Government

Program Supports Learning About Agriculture and Food Department of Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program is intended to increase knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children, and to bring together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system to increase the capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations. The application deadline is July 9, 2018.

Funds Available to Manage Cultural Resources

National Park Service

The Cultural Resources Management Services program allows the National Park Service to work collaboratively with partners on a variety of cultural resource activities, including studies, planning, inventory reviews, exhibit design, teaching projects, and more. The application deadline is July 13, 2018.

Please welcome Gold Trail Grange #452 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, Gold Trail Grange #452 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Gold Trail Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Gold Trail Grange #452
319 State Highway 49
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Coloma, CA

Visit Gold Trail Grange Webpage

Visit Gold Trail Grange Facebook Page

Expo Director, Katie Squire has released the 2018 Grange Expo Book!

View the Expo Page

Duane Scott is going to be our National Grange representative for the re-dedication of our State Grange. Brother Duane Serves as a member of the National Grange Executive Committee.

Rich doing his magic act at Aromas Live!.

Rich was an amazing leader that just seemed to have a limitless amount of energy, passion, drive and commitment to the Grange and his community. The 4th Quarter 2017 California State Grange Board meeting was hosted by the Aromas Grange and Rich was so proud to share the Aromas Grange success story and history. The passing of Rich without a doubt will leave a void in our Grange family.

We are sure that Rich is very impressed and proud of the incredible increase of involvement and support as people are stepping up to fill the big hole that he is leaving in his community.
Rich with his youngest granddaughter, Riley Jane Saxe.

Send a message to members and family

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the California State Grange has been scheduled for Sunday June 24th at the CSG Headquarter Bldg on U Street Sacramento.
Open Session 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Location: California State Grange, 3830 U Street, Sacramento, CA

Those members wishing to address the Board of Directors must notify the State Grange Secretary by close of business on Tuesday June 19, 2018.

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

Senate Farm Bill

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed their farm bill, S. 3042 , the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, yesterday with a gigantic bipartisan vote of 20-1. In my time in Washington, never has a farm bill been debated and passed out of committee in three hours! Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer have committed to schedule a floor vote on the farm bill in the Senate before the July 4 recess. ….unheard of in recent memory. Kudos go to Chairman Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Minority Member Stabenow (D-MI) for their masterful leadership and strategy through this process. They resorted to “old line” politics by consulting with committee members individually for several months and resolving issues across the party aisle long before the bill was released for markup. The 2018 bill largely mirrors the 2014 bill.

Among the amendments adopted yesterday were:

     · Sodsaver rules reducing crop insurance premium subsidies to farmers who break up native sod can now be expanded to more states upon each governor’s approval.

     · Authorization for USDA foreign market development funds to be used for ag trade promotion to Cuba.

     · Increase the USDA limits on guaranteed loans to $1.75 million from $1.39 million , direct ownership loans from $300,000 to $600,000, and direct operating loans from $300,000 to $400,000.

     · Create a “Micro EQUIP” program to that makes it easier for small farmers to receive USDA cost-share funds for working- farms environmental practices.

     · Reimburse dairy farmers for their cost of MPP premiums in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

     · Restore mandatory biofuel and biochemical programs at their 2014 funding levels.

Contentious Senate floor amendments are expected to crop insurance , nutrition programs, SNAP, the sugar program and more.

Big Two Weeks Coming

Senate leadership has committed to a full Senate vote on the farm bill before the July 4 recess, perhaps as early as next week. The full House is expected to debate and vote on two immigration bills next week. We are somewhat pessimistic that agriculture’s critical ag workforce shortage issues will be satisfactorily resolved. Unfortunately, many members of Congress are holding up ag worker relief as leverage against other immigration provisions.

House leadership says they will bring the House farm bill back to the floor following the immigration debate, possibly as early as June 21-22. As the announcer says, stay tuned.

Burton Eller
National Grange Legislative Director
1616 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 628-3507 Ext. 114
Cell: (202) 369-5036
Fax: (202) 347-1091


• Grange's Intergenerational Nature Ahead of the Curve
• HQ Tenant Leads Strategic Planning Meeting, Helps National Staff Prioritize
• Love Letter from an E-Member
• Eller Offers Senate Farm Bill Highlights
• Grange Issues Statement on Internet Regulations and the Rural Impact
• Train to Lead: Fellows Program Open to All Members
• Let's Talk
• Do You Have a Distinguished Youth Program on Your Hand?
• Even Healthy Guys Needs Health Screenings
• Toxic Exposures Among Post - 9/11 Vets in Focus
• Lecturer's Round-Up and Preview
• 3 Ambitious Interns Join National Office for Summer
• Submission of Grange Community Service Hours is Helpful Context
• Save the Date: Grange Revival July 23 - 28, 2019
• Make it a Good Day!

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Robert McFarland, Mark Ellis and the California Guild arraigned on contempt charges.

On June 9th, Judge Brown arraigned the California Guild, Robert McFarland, and Mark Ellis on contempt charges in Sacramento Superior Court. As you will recall, Judge Brown issued an order to show cause why these parties should not be held in contempt of his preliminary injunction issued in October 2015, which prohibited the Guild from using Grange funds in the Morgan Stanley asset management account. Despite this clear order, last summer, the Guild (at Mr. McFarland's direction) withdrew over $93,000 from the account to pay part of the sanctions awarded against the Guild by Judge Shubb in the federal trademark case.

To hide the source of these funds, the Guild first sent them to Mr. Ellis, who then paid the sanctions award out of his law firm's account. You can read a full description (including documentation) of the actions of the Guild, Mr. McFarland, and Mr. Ellis in the the California State Grange's motion papers, click here to read..

After reviewing the documents submitted by the California State Grange and the response offered by the Guild, Judge Brown determined that the Guild, Mr. McFarland, and Mr. Ellis should be tried for their contempt of his order. The matter has been set for trial on July 20. If convicted, Mr. McFarland and Mr. Ellis face penalties including fines and jail time.

It brings no pleasure to anybody in our fraternal order to see individuals face criminal penalties. However, the actions of the Guild, Mr. McFarland, and Mr. Ellis resulted in the loss of over $93,000 of Grange funds acquired by our Order from generations of Grange members. California law and Grange rules are crystal clear on the responsibilities of those who are in possession of Grange property. I urge everybody to make sure that they are complying with those responsibilities at all times when they are making decisions involving Grange property.

Click here to read Judge's Order

Junior Grange 130th Anniversary Fundraiser

This is a fundraiser the entire family can be a part of!

This year the Junior Grange turns 130 years old, and we need your support so that we can continue to stay strong for generations to come. For those of us who started our Grange journey wearing red tennis shoes, it is undeniable what the Junior Grange experience can do to open the possibilities up for a child. From building skills in public speaking, meeting administration, and project planning, to the early introduction of new cultures and languages (such as American Sign Language), Junior Grange is an opportunity that builds character and whose affects are felt for a lifetime

You can make a difference in the lives of today’s children just as someone helped do for you and your peers. We cannot forget that we were blessed with the gift of the Grange and Junior Grange because of the support and sacrifices of those who came before us and to honor them, we must continue that support today.

For the future of our nation and for our organization, please consider supporting the Junior Grange in a way most comfortable to you.

Make a donation now!

We have been getting the Grange HQ property in Sacramento cleaned upped in preparation for our re-dedication on June 23rd.

Here are some before and after photos!

Parking lot before being resealed and striping repainted.

A small portion of the trash and debris that were removed. A very large refuse box was filled from cleaning out the GBO building after the Theatre Company moved out.

Front of the "U" St headquarters.

Parking lot has been resealed and restripped! Now you can see where not to park and it is safer to walk across the parking lot.

Grange flag proudly flys at the Grange Triangle!.




Congress returns to Washington after their Memorial Day Recess the week of June 4 to wrestle with the calendar and a plethora of unresolved legislative and public policy issues. The farm bill failed on the House floor under pressure from feeding program (SNAP) and immigration advocates who wanted leverage to address changes to these two specific issues. On the other side of the Hill, the Senate Agriculture Committee stepped up efforts to pass a farm bill out of committee by mid-June.

House members have almost enough votes to force a discharge petition to allow immigration votes on a permanent fix to the high profile "Dreamers" situation. A compromise on tougher work requirements for SNAP recipients will be necessary to get any Democrats to vote for the House farm bill. The stalemate on negotiations revising the NAFTA trade agreement threatened farm prices for agriculture commodities. New U.S. tariffs placed on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union brought threats of retaliatory tariffs on American goods and farm commodities sold abroad.

Finally, it seems everyone in Washington can spell and say rural broadband expansion. After years of lip service, new broadband providers, additional money, higher priorities, increased commitments and public policy pronouncements are targeting rural broadband deployment.

Access to affordable health care in rural and small town America is always on the agenda for the National Grange. Rural hospitals continue to close faster than local telemedicine clinics can replace them. Prescription drug pricing is a main street topic now in Washington. Profit-taking along the chain from drug maker to patient user is under scrutiny. Counterfeit imported drugs continue to pose a health risk to domestic patients.


Farm Bill

The House farm bill went down in flames May 18. Democrats were outraged at the increased work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients without dependents. Conservative Republicans used the farm bill vote attempt to leverage a vote on the 'Dreamers" immigration dilemma. It appears House leaders will have to reach a deal on immigration with conservatives before the House farm bill can be reconsidered. It's still uncertain whether the House will try to pass a farm bill with Republican-only votes or attempt a compromise on the SNAP provisions to draw Democrat votes. The Senate bipartisan farm bill meantime is nearing completion according to Chairman Roberts, R-KS., and ranking Democrat Stabenow, D-MI. Committee action on the Senate bill could come as early as the week of June 11. Roberts says he has commitments from Senate Majority Leader McConnell, R-KY. and Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y. for a clear pathway" to the Senate floor if the bill receives a substantial majority committee vote

Waters of the United States

The House Energy-Water Appropriations Bill is ready for floor debate. It contains a provision to repeal the "Waters of the United States "rule that redefined the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to include practically all land and water in the country which the National Grange opposes. The appropriations provision is intended to expedite the process of replacing the rule.

Health Care

Drug Prices

The President unveiled his plan to lower drug prices. Among the biggest policy changes are the provisions to require drug companies to disclose their prices in television ads, shorten the time for cheaper generics to reach the market, and target pharmacy benefit manager "Middlemen" for increased transparency on how well (or not) they are passing drug discounts along to patients. National Grange president Betsy Huber issued a statement commending the President and his Administration for their efforts to lower drug prices for rural and senior patients across the country. However, the Grange is waiting for more clarity on several items including the price of sole-source branded drugs and possible changes to Medicare Part B which could raise specialty drugs prices and limit their availability to lifesaving treatments for seniors.

Beware of the Out-of-Pocket-Cliff

With recent Part D changes to cost-sharing incentives and a looming out-of-pocket cliff or "donut hole" coming by 2020 that could raise senior's costs by $1500, Part D beneficiaries need decisive action from Congress to protect their access to life-saving drugs. The National Grange encouraged all House Democrats to cosign a letter with Schneider (D-IL-10) and Kelly (D-IL-2) urging the House to legislatively fix this threat before it's too late. House Republicans were encouraged to cosign a similar request letter with Representative Hudson (R-NC-8).

Department of Health and Human Services Adds Rural Health Strategy

HHS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says it is set to begin focusing efforts on better prioritizing the unique health care needs of rural populations. The agency says it will look at ways to improve reimbursements for rural providers, recruit and train health care workers, make health care options more affordable and advance the use of telemedicine.

Pigs and Cows Allergy Partners?

Living close to a livestock farm may lower one's risk of common allergies among adults who aren't famers or ag workers according to research published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. In fact, the closer the proximity to pigs and cattle the better the chance to lower the risk of allergenic sensitization. In addition, those who lived in an area of high farm density as a child had significantly lower allergy risks, suggesting that long term exposure may be particularly effective.



Grange president Betsy Huber wrote Representative Curtis (R-UT-3) to support his Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act, H.R. 4824. Breaking down jurisdictional and bureaucratic barriers will go a long way to expedite broadband deployment. Curtis' bill would: • Delegate federal environmental compliance to a state on behalf of the relevant federal agency • Provides a categorical exclusion for any broadband project within an existing operational right -of-way • Consolidate efforts in the executive branch to create a single federal point of contact for the broadband deployment project. What does broadband have to do with the opioid epidemic in rural America? More than one might think according to Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA. Some roots of the opioid crisis appear to stem from deep and challenging issues such as generational poverty, over prescribing medication, lack of economic opportunity, lack of access to quality medical care, and a sense of isolation. Eighty percent of American households that do not have access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet are in rural communities. Seventy five percent of the country's schools that lack high-speed internet service are in rural areas. Available, accessible broadband can help in the fight against opioid addiction and aid in the recovery process.


The National Grange continues to support the Lifeline affordability program that enables the elderly, disabled, isolated, low income, unemployed and other eligible rural citizens to access telephone connectivity to the outside world. The National Grange sometimes looks to its state Granges for help. New York State Grange president Stephen Coye recently filed formal comments with the New York Public Service Commission on behalf of the National Grange supporting a petition for TracFone Wireless to participate in the New York Lifeline Program.


Immigration is suddenly on the front burner in Washington. Proponents of leveraging floor debate on immigration policy in the House of Representatives have 213 of the 218 signatures needed. Also, conservative Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the farm bill as a means to leverage immigration consideration; this means the farm bill stands no chance of passing until immigration is addressed in some form or fashion. The problem is that the GOP appears divided within its own ranks on an immigration strategy. Moderates want to limit debate to a pared-down bipartisan bill that would create a path forward to citizenship for those brought to the U.S. as children, referred to as "Dreamers". Another issue certain to be added is the policy of separating immigrant parents and children at the Southern border. Conservatives are demanding a more comprehensive approach to curb illegal immigration, create legal pathways to citizenship for qualified persons, close the border to illegal crossings and create a workable farm worker program. National Grange policy is to support a legal immigration process for all immigrants and create a workable, efficient, practical and relevant ag worker program.


Trade Economy

Agriculture depends on trade. No matter where one stands on the many aspects of trade, it's a fact that our agricultural economy relies heavily on the foreign consumer buying the food we produce. Threats of trade wars send shock waves through farm country, financial markets, manufacturing, the supply industry and the rest of America's production economy.


Most Americans appear to support free and fair trade between countries. The difficulty comes with one's definition of fair trade. Is trade fair if a country wants to carve out a special benefit, product or commodity for special treatment similar to today's dairy issue with Canada? Issues like the Canadian dairy restrictions abound as nations attempt to negotiate or renegotiate trade agreements. The brick wall on renegotiation of the Canada-Mexico-United States NAFTA trade pact is a case in point. Until all countries involved are able to reach a compromise on these "sacred cows", a new NAFTA agreement will remain elusive.


Then there are tariffs. Tariffs are like extra high taxes placed on the things we want to buy. These new taxes will probably cause us to buy less of that product or not buy any at all. So when America places a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imported from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, these countries lose the American market. These countries in turn place tariffs on American products and we lose market share there. This circular boxing match on trade continues until one side gives up or until an agreement is reached.

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

Click here to download this issue

The California State Grange has truly lost a valued member with the passing of Houghton "Tom" Sawyer.

Tom has been a rock star in all the hats he has worn over the years as a Grange Member. His leadership to his Subordinate, Pomona and The Grange Foundation was an invaluable gift to our organization. We will the miss his smile, whit, knowledge and commitment that filled the room! His contributions will live on and not forgotten.

Send Tom's family a message via his Facebook page

The California State Grange invites all members to CELEBRATE!

When: SATURDAY JUNE 23, 2018

Time: Program starts at 10:00 AM (See schedule below)

Where: State Grange Headquarters
3830 U Street, Sacramento

RSVP BY: June 18th to Lillian Booth, StateSecretary


10am Get "A Taste Of New Programs" with
Grange Expo -Katie Squire, State Lecturer
Community Service -Martha Stefenoni, Director
Secretary Fun - Lillian Booth, State Secretary

Light lunch served at noon.

1pm "Grange GROWS" - Becoming a Grange mentor.

3pm Re-dedication Ceremony of the California State Grange building

4pm Dinner is served! (Provided by State Grange!)

5pm State Grange Public Speaking & Sign-A-Song Contests

Bring your musical instruments and play or sing the evening away

Ending When we get done!

View the Flyer

May 2018

Please welcome ELK Creek Grange #441 in reactivating and returning into Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, ELK Creek Grange #441 has completed the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws with 51 NEW Members as part of the reactivation!

The California State Grange would like to thank Bob Clouse, State EC Member, Lillian Booth State Secretary and community leader Lauren Carly for making this happen and restoring our relationship with the ELK Creek Community and moving forward to provide support and interaction within their community as we have since 10/1/1929.

Thank you to all the new members of ELK Creek Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

ELK Creek Grange
145 Church St
Elk Creek, CA

Please help us welcome Hangtown Grange #464 in returning to Good Standing in the Order.

By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, Hangtown Grange #464 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to the members of Hangtown Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Hangtown Grange #464
2020 Smith Flat Rd.
Placerville, CA

View the Hangtown Grange Facebook Page

Welcome Grange #791 - Napa County

Please help us welcome Welcome Grange #791 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, Welcome Grange #791 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to the members of Welcome Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Welcome Grange #791
3275 Hagan Rd.
Napa, CA

View the Welcome Grange Facebook Page

May 2018


• Opioid Crisis Hits Hard; Granges Can Hit Back
• Newest Issue of Good Day! Out
• Pre-order Your "That's the Grange Way" 2019 Calendar
• Reservations Coming in Fast for 152nd Session
• Grange Challenge: Crack the Code
• Partners Offers Tips to Protect Halls
• Lecturer's Round-Up and Preview
• Save the Date: Grange Revival 2019
• Junior Grange Rocks Because of Supporters Like......You
• 'Rockin the Grange' Junior range T-shirt Fundraiser
• American Handicraft Raffle
• New Partnership Announced: Weather Ready Nation
• Quick Block Contest 2018
• Grange Foundation Mercantile
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation
• Ensure the Grange Future in 4 Easy Steps

View the Latest Newsletter


A very special day is planned at the California State Grange Headquarters, 3830 U Street, Sacramento on:

• Saturday: June 23, 2018
• Start time: 10:00 am
• End time: When the music stops (about 10pm)

The day starts at 10am with “A Taste Of …” workshops. These will be round-robin style workshops with the Grange Expo/State Lecturer, Katie Squire; State Grange Community Service Director, Martha Stefenoni; and the State Grange Secretary, Lillian Booth. Come and get a taste of the new programs, ideas, promotions, and skills available through the State Grange.

At noon – a light lunch will be served for the workshop attendees.

At 1 pm – CSG, Secretay, Lillian Booth will present an introduction to “Grange GROWS”. This is a new, innovative, hands-on opportunity to be involved as a Grange coach and mentor. The full workshop will be presented around the State in the near future. This is your chance to try it out. Refresh your Grange skills and acquire some new ones.

At 3 pm – Join us for the Re-Dedication of the California State Grange building and property. It has been several decades since a Grange building has been dedicated in California. Share in this unique part of our Grange heritage. Talk and visit until dinner is ready at 4:00 pm. We are planning on some incredible Grange chefs to help prepare a delicious chicken dinner.

At 5 pm, enjoy the Public Speaking and Sign-A-Song State Contests. These competitions are open to California Grange members of all ages, Juniors, Youth, and beyond.

The winners will then represent the California State Grange at the Western States Regional Grange Conference in August, in the State of Washington. Winners from the Regional Competition will perform at the National Grange Session in Vermont in November. So, step up to the podium or use your Sign language skills and represent California.

After the competition, enjoy music, laughter, talk, refresh old friendships and make new ones. This will be an extraordinary day, so join us in MOVING FORWARD.

Act Now for the Future of Farming!

Tell your Senator to sign on as co-sponsor of "Next Generation in Agriculture Act"

Brothers, Sisters and Friends of the Grange,

Today you can help to ensure the future of American agriculture with a few simple clicks.

We support issues addressed as part of the bipartisan Next Generation in Agriculture Act (S.2762), introduced by National Grange Champion of Rural America recipient Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and her counterpart, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). These include breaking down some of the most common barriers to entry for young farmers, such as access to land, training and federal programs, to name a few.

The National Young Farmers Coalition has created an easy form that will deliver the message - become a co-sponsor of the bill - to your senator.

Click here to ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor the 'Next Generation in Agriculture Act'! We encourage you to include a line in the preview email saying you are a Grange member and that the bill is supported by the National Grange in addition to FFA and National Young Farmers Coalition (already mentioned in their standard text).

If you wish to share this with other members without email access, here is a great sample letter that they can send to their Senator by mail:

Download this sample letter

Dear Senator (Name),

As a Grange member in your state concerned with the future of agriculture and rural communities, I write to ask you to co-sponsor the 'Next Generation in Agriculture Act' (S.2762).

The average age of farmers in the U.S. is approaching 60 years old. About two-thirds of all U.S. farmland is expected to transition and need a new farmer as this older generation retires. The future of our food system depends on supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

The 'Next Generation in Agriculture Act' would address some of the top barriers young farmers face, including access to training, farmland, and federal programs. The bill would make significant progress minimizing those barriers by investing in beginning farmer training and creating new positions at USDA to assist young and beginning farmers. The bill is supported by the nation's oldest agriculture advocacy organization, the National Grange, and endorsed by FFA and the National Young Farmers Coalition.

On behalf of our nation's young and aspiring farmers, I ask you to co-sponsor the bill and advocate for its inclusion into the next farm bill.

Best Regards,

(Your Name) (Your Town,

Download this sample letter

The Guild, Robert McFarland and Mark Ellis - Contempt Action

On April 20, the California Superior Court (Judge Brown) granted the California State Grange's motion for an order to show cause why the Court should not find the California Guild, Robert McFarland, and Mark Ellis in contempt. In 2015, Judge Brown entered a preliminary injunction restricting the Guild's use of Grange funds held at Morgan Stanley. Notwithstanding this clear order, in 2017, Mr. McFarland and the Guild transferred over $93,000 in Grange funds out of a Morgan Stanley account into an account held by the Guild's attorneys at the Ellis Law Group. Ellis, in turn, used that money to pay the National Grange part of the sanctions awarded against the Guild as a result its willful and deliberate violation of the order prohibiting the Guild from using the Grange trademarks entered in the federal court. In other words, the Guild used Grange money withdrawn from a Grange account in violation of Judge Brown's order to pay the National Grange its costs incurred in enforcing the federal court's order, and attempted to hide the source of those funds by transferring them through Ellis's bank account. These actions were undertaken in knowing and willful violation of the preliminary injunction -- the very essence of contempt.

The April 20 order requires the Guild, McFarland, and Ellis to appear before Judge Brown on June 7. If found to be in contempt, the California State Grange has asked for all available civil entities and also for criminal sanctions of fines and imprisonment. It is never pleasant when measures like these must be taken. But court orders have meaning, and the willful refusal to comply with them has consequences. The California State Grange has no choice but to seek all available remedies against individuals who use Grange property in violation of court orders, California law, and Grange rules.

View the Contempt Action Motion

April 2018

National Grange Fly-In

This year's fly-in to Washington April 15-18 was the largest in recent years. A total of 34 Grangers of all ages from 14 states had 30 appointments on Capitol Hill with their senators, representatives and congressional staff. They discussed matters related to broadband and telecommunications, health care, farm bill, farm policy, dairy policy, rural concerns, the opioid crisis and a slew of back-home issues. Attendees were treated to extensive in-depth briefings at the National Grange building and USDA before venturing to the Hill. A highlight was a briefing from the White House by Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance. Junior Grange members at the fly-in had the unique experience of being interviewed by RFD-TV. The major objective of the fly-in is to carry local, state and national Grange policy positions into meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.


Sign Up for New Dairy Assistance

Grangers are encouraged to sign up by June 1 at their Farm Service Agency office for the new dairy Margin Protection Program. This issue was lobbied hard by the Grange and included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (omnibus package). The new MPP offers increased protection to dairymen when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (i.e. the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. USDA has a web tool to help dairymen use data unique to their individual operations to test a variety of financial scenarios before enrolling in the new MPP. The tool is located at

Farm Bill Ready for House Action

Farm bills are traditionally a bipartisan exercise on Capitol Hill. Not so this time, at least not on the House side. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson worked together for months on a draft farm bill. Then politics eclipsed policy. A version of the bill was leaked to some Democratic members who became outraged at a proposal to require stricter work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) recipients. Republicans pushed the farm bill through Committee on a party line vote over the objections of Committee Democrats who vowed to block the farm bill over the proposed work requirements. This will set up an acrimonious and bitter partisan debate when the farm bill reaches the House floor in May. Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture members still believe they will be able to craft and pass a bipartisan farm bill by fall. Here is a summary by title of the House farm bill (H.R.2) as passed by the Ag Committee as it heads to the full House:
• Title I. Commodity - An escalator provision to Price Loss Coverage (PLC) raises reference prices. Dairy adds higher coverage levels of $8.50 and $9.00 for the first 5 million pounds of production. Members of LLCs and S corporations can qualify individually for payments up to $125,000 annually. The definition of family is expanded to include cousins, nieces and nephews. Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) yields would be based on the county where the farm is located and would separate irrigated and dryland acreage.
• Title II. Conservation - The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is eliminated and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is expanded. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage is increased to 29 million acres up from the current 24 million acres. Funding for the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) is slightly increased.
• Title III. Trade - Reauthorizes and funds USDA's foreign trade programs.
• Title IV. Nutrition - The most controversial section of the House farm bill is nutrition. It requires work-capable adults under age 60, including parents of children older than 6, to work or be in an approved training program 20 hours per week. The SNAP earned income deduction is increased by 10 percent.
• Title V. Credit - The maximum allowable indebtedness is increased for both guaranteed farm ownership and guaranteed operating loans. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts Pilot Program is continued.
• Title VI. Rural Development - This section adds $150 million to the $600 million in the omnibus spending bill to fund grants and loans to rural internet providers. It includes loans to develop Agricultural association health plans to benefit farmers and others on rural areas. It does not include funding for Value-added Producer Grants, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, the National Organic Cost Share Program, and several other smaller programs.
• Title VII, Research - Level funding is maintained for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is increased.
• Title VIII. Forestry - Expedites approvals for logging in national forests to combat insect and disease infestations, protect municipal water sources and improve critical habitat.
• Title X. Crop Insurance - There are no major changes to crop insurance. Conservation compliance requirements added by the 2014 farm bill are continued. The beginning farmer definition is changed so that someone in business for up to 10 years can qualify for whole farm revenue insurance premium discounts, up from the current 5 year limit.
• Title X. Miscellaneous - One-time funding for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank is approved as is authorization for Secretary Perdue's reorganization of USDA. A Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison at USDA is created for measuring and reducing food waste.

Health Care

Fighting Opioid Addiction

The National Grange has joined a nationwide coalition to combat our national opioid and drug abuse crisis. Coalitions will be organized by state to include community and advocacy leaders like the Grange who will work together as partners to ensure those struggling with addiction have access to high-quality care. A major focus of the campaign is the safe disposal of opioids and other addictive drugs. Partners will have the opportunity to work together at the local community level to mobile health care providers, EMT, fire fighters, law enforcement, community and civic groups, pharmacists, policy makers and more. Plans are to provide print and digital advertisements, education kits and in-person events that directly engage the community. A major initiative will be a partner-driven effort to disseminate prescription drug disposal kits to residents free of charge. Maryland State Grange was part of the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative roll-out in Annapolis April 26. Medicare Plan Finder Problems

The federal government's online tool to help seniors make decisions about Medicare Parts C and D apparently has major flaws. The independent assessment was conducted by the Clear Choices Campaign, a health care cost transparency initiative of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage and the nonprofit National Council on Aging. The report called for a retooling of the MPF plan and offers numerous recommendations to improve MPF. The National Grange is a member of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage and will monitor the retooling process.



Rural broadband deployment continues to be a major priority for the National Grange. Effective use of the additional $600 million awarded to USDA for rural broadband in the Omnibus spending package will be the focus of upcoming listening sessions around the country for the next six months. Agriculture Secretary Perdue and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai kicked of the first session in Washington April 18. Participants highlighted the challenge to build strong broadband systems that are sustainable andlong-lasting for rural America. The next listening session will be in Minnesota in June.


The federal government's Lifeline program provides inexpensive phone connectivity to seniors, veterans, the disabled, and those in isolated rural areas. The Federal Communications Commission wants to counter allegations of waste, fraud and abuse by greatly restricting the program. The Grange strongly supports the elimination of all waste, fraud and abuse from Lifeline but urges the FCC to do no harm to this vital program.

One School Two Distinctions

The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences gives its diverse student body an education that prepares them for college as well as a career in agriculture. It is a public school set on a working farm. It is also one of eight schools from around the country, and the only agriculture school, selected in the 2017 "Schools of Opportunity" project. The project recognizes public high schools that work to close opportunity gaps by creating environments that reach every student.


Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade. Charles Dickens

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. Arthur Rubenstein

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcomed. Anne Bradstreet

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance. Yoko Ono 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

Summary Judgment as to Grange Property GRANTED

On April 17, 2018, Judge Brown granted the California State Grange's motion for summary judgment for declarations that certain property held by the Guild on April 5, 2013, was and is Grange property, and orders that the property be returned to its rightful owner, the California State Grange. In particular, the motion sought the return of:

(1) the California State Grange's headquarters property in Sacramento;
(2) the balance in the Wells Fargo account on April 5, 2013 ($96,026.79);
(3) the return of the balance in the Morgan Stanley restricted account on April 5, 2013 ($328,993.53);
(4) the return of the balance in the Morgan Stanley asset management account on April 5, 2013 ($2,818,367.21); and
(5) the return of receivables on loans made to Subordinate Granges before the revocation of the California State Grange Charter.

The Court granted the motion and all relief sought by the California State Grange.

Here are some highlights from the order:

-- "the California State Grange sets forth thirty undisputed facts that the California Guild possessed and controlled this property on April 5, 2013, and that the property is 'Grange property' and was held in the name of the California State Grange. The Court finds the California State Grange has met its burden ...."

-- "no objections to evidence have been filed. The California Guild does not dispute any of the material facts set forth by the California State Grange, does not dispute or argue that the property sought is Grange property, and does not argue that the property at issue in the Cross-Complaint should not be returned to the California State Grange pursuant to the declaration of rights in the Judgment."

As the Court found, the Guild offered no dispute whatsoever that the California State Grange headquarters property, funds in the Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley accounts, and receivables on loans made to Subordinate Granges are Grange property that must be returned to the California State Grange. Efforts to recover possession and control of all of this property are well underway, and we will keep you updated on the progress.

View the Entire Court Order


• Dairies hit hard. Granges can help.
• Grangers Fly In, flex advocacy muscles
• Birthday of the first Grange celebrated
• Rockin' the Grange Junior Grange T-shirt fundraiser
• Put fun on your calendar for 2019
• New medicare cards about to hit mailboxes
• Program Update and Call
• Legacy Family nominations open
• May is military appreciation month
• 152nd Annual National Grange Convention

View the April Issue of the Patrons Chain

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Yesterday, (April 17th) Superior Court Judge Brown granted the Grange’s motion for summary judgment on the Guild’s claims against the California State Grange’s holding corporation, Ed Komski, and Lillian Booth (the “CSG Defendants”) in the state court action. The Guild filed that lawsuit in 2014 claiming that the CSG Defendants had defamed the Guild and had wrongfully acquired dues from Subordinate Granges and funds from the Grange Insurance Association (GIA) paid pursuant to its contract with the National Grange. The case was consolidated with the main state court action in front of Judge Brown shortly thereafter. The Court’s order yesterday finds for the CSG Defendants on all counts, and rejects all claims of wrongdoing made by the Guild.

Some highlights: -- p. 2: “In short, the dispute centers on whether the California State Grange defamed the Guild by claiming it was no longer the true ‘California State Grange’ and wrongfully received Grange fees and GIA [Grange Insurance Association] funds, which allegedly should have been paid or delivered to the Guild. The California State Grange now moves for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication of each cause of action on the grounds that the alleged statements were true (i.e., the Guild was, in fact, no longer the ‘California State Grange’ entity chartered by the National Grange), Subordinate Granges are obligated under the rules of the Order to pay their Grange dues to the California State Grange (not the Guild), and because certain GIA funds are Grange property to which the Guild has no right or claim.

-- p. 5: “The Guild's argument that the motion fails because it does not address statements about the Guild as a corporation is rejected. The Guild argues the California State Grange's motion never addresses whether the Guild could maintain its corporate form as a corporation registered with the Secretary of State and, if it could, then it would be false for the California State Grange to make statements that the Guild is not the ‘California State Grange.’ This argument is beside the point. The incorporation status of the Guild is irrelevant to its claims. The issue is who was operating as the actively chartered ‘California State Grange,’ not whether the Guild could properly incorporate as a different corporation.

-- pp. 5-6 (defamation claim): The CSG “Defendants have presented undisputed evidence that the alleged statement that the California State Grange had been reorganized was, in fact, true. Following the revocation of its charter, the Guild was no longer a part of the Order. (UMFs 31, 35.) Upon the restoration of its charter in July of 2014, the California State Grange was reorganized as the only legitimate State Grange in California. Therefore, this alleged statement cannot form the basis for a claim of defamation.”

-- p. 6 (interference with contractual relations claim): “The Guild's second cause of action alleges the California State Grange disrupted the Guild's contractual relationships with the Subordinate Granges as set forth in the bylaws. (FAC ¶¶ 23-24.) The bylaws the Guild refers to are the California State Grange bylaws…. [The CSG] Defendants have presented undisputed evidence that the obligation of Subordinate Granges to pay Grange dues is established by the rules of the Order, and those dues are Grange property to be collected and distributed within the Grange. (UMFs 9-11.) Further, if a State Grange has its charter suspended or revoked, as occurred with the Guild, it may not operate as a Grange while its charter has been suspended or revoked and its property must remain within the Grange until a new State Grange is chartered. (UMFs 17, 19-21.) As the Guild's charter was revoked on April 5, 2013, it no longer operated as the California State Grange under the rules of the Order after that date. Based on the foregoing, [the CSG] Defendants have established there was no alleged ‘interference’ with any contractual relationship between Subordinate Granges and the Guild as the bylaws and rules of the Order and California State Grange no longer applied to the Guild following the revocation of its charter.

-- p. 7 (interference with economic advantage claims): The Guild alleges that the CSG “Defendants ‘intentionally and fraudulently’ or ‘negligently’ coerced the payment of Grange dues from Subordinate Granges. (FAC ¶ 31, 38.) As discussed above, Defendants have established the obligation of Subordinate Granges to pay Grange dues is established by the rules of the Order, and those dues are Grange property to be collected and distributed within the Grange. (UMFs 9-11.) The Guild was no longer a part of the Grange following the revocation of its charter and was, therefore, no longer entitled to receive any Grange dues. (UMFs 17, 19-21, 23, 30, 31, 37.) Further, [the CSG] Defendants' communications to Subordinate Granges accurately stated the requirements under the rules of the Order, indicating that if they wished to remain in good standing with the Order, payment of Grange dues to the California State Grange, and not the Guild, was required.

-- p. 7 (unfair competition claim): “The Guild alleges [the CSG] Defendants violated Business and Professions Code section 17200 by coercing Subordinate Granges into pay dues and using GIA funds to fund its complaint in intervention in an attempt to put undue financial pressure on the guild and to exert unlawful competitive leverage over the Guild.... [The CSG] Defendants have presented undisputed evidence that no such anti-competitive activity is present. [The CSG] Defendants have established their communications to Subordinate Granges accurately stated the requirements under the rules of the Order, indicating that if the Subordinate Granges wished to remain in good standing with the Order, payment of Grange dues to the California State Grange, and not the Guild, was required. (UMFs 40, 41.) [The CSG] Defendants have also established their entitlement to the GIA funds.

-- pp. 7-8 (constructive trust claim): The Guild alleges the Grange dues and GIA funds in possession of the California State Grange are subject to a constructive trust because they were misappropriated or acquired by other wrongful act.... As discussed above, [the CSG] Defendants have established through undisputed evidence that they have not acted ‘wrongfully’ in obtaining the Grange dues and GIA fund and the Guild has no right to the property or to impose a constructive trust.”

-- p. 8 (conversion claim): “The Guild alleges [the CSG] Defendants converted GIA funds. Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another.... As discussed, above, [the CSG] Defendants have established the GIA funds are Grange property and the Guild has no right to these funds. (UMFs 9, 14.)

View the Court Order

Today, April 16th Judge Shubb (Federal Eastern District Court) issued an order to re-open post-judgment proceedings in the original trademark case (“Grange I”) because the Guild used Grange funds to pay the approximately $250,000 in sanctions awarded to the National Grange as a result of the Guild’s deliberate and willful violation of the federal trademark injunction.

After the Guild paid those sanctions in 2017, the Grange learned that the monies had come from a Morgan Stanley account holding the California State Grange’s funds that Judge Brown had ordered could not be used by the Guild, and from an account used to hold charitable funds for the California Grange Foundation. To hide the source of those funds, the Guild first sent the money to its attorneys at the Ellis Law Group, which deposited the funds into its own account and then paid the Grange with checks drawn on the law firm’s account.

The National Grange moved to set aside the judgment in Grange I on the ground that the sanctions award had not been satisfied because the Guild had in fact used funds to which it was not entitled to pay the award. Judge Shubb agreed. In particular, Judge Shubb wrote: “the uncontroverted evidence indicates that [the Guild's] partial payment of [the Grange’s] attorney fee award in the amount of $93,707.78 came from funds that [the Guild] had been prohibited from accessing. On December 27, 2017, [the Grange] discovered, through discovery in a related case, that the three checks for $93,707.78 written on Ellis Law Group’s client trust account were identical to payments paid to the Ellis Law Group from a restricted Morgan Stanley account belonging to The Grange. Relatedly, on March 21, 2018, the Sacramento County Superior Court ruled that [the Guild] had ‘willfully violated this Court’s injunction order, which specifically precluded the Guild from expending funds in an account at Morgan Stanley.’ [Citation] The Superior Court Order further explained that ‘the Guild has expended tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys’ fees in favor of a CSG affiliate in an unrelated case.’ The court recognizes that these ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ refer precisely to the $93,707.78 at issue here. Therefore, with regard to the $93,707.78 payment, it clearly appears that [the Grange] entered its Satisfaction of Judgment by mistake. [The Guild] convinced [the Grange] that the funds it used to pay [the Grange] came from [the Guild], when in reality the money came from a fund that [the Guild] had been enjoined from accessing pursuant to the state court injunction. Had [the Grange] known the true source of the money, it would not have entered an Acknowledgement of Full Satisfaction of Judgment. (Docket No. 224.) Thus, the Satisfaction of Judgment was clearly entered in error. It also appears that the remaining $145,466.82 may have been paid using money that the Guild should not have accessed as well….

[The Grange] requests sanctions against [the Guild] for its attempt to satisfy the Federal court’s judgment with funds fraudulently obtained in violation of a state court injunction…. The court agrees with [the Grange] and concludes that [the Guild] attempted to deceive [the Grange] by paying the judgment using misappropriated funds. [The Guild] offers no plausible explanation for why it used those funds from the Morgan Stanley account. At the hearing on April 16, 2018, [the Guild’s attorney Mark Ellis] attempted to argue that Judge Brown’s Order discussing ‘tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys’ fees’ referred to a different payment. However, upon inspection of the Order, this explanation was disproven.

The evidence indicates that the $93,707.78 was, indisputably, removed from a restricted Morgan Stanley account, with no credible reason for doing so. Accordingly, the court concluded that [the Grange] is entitled to sanctions in the amount of $9,000, which less than 10% of the amount of money which [the Guild] attempted to cheat [the Grange] out of. The sanctions are imposed in part to indemnify [the Grange] for its attorney fees in making this Motion.

IT WAS ORDERED that [the Grange’s] Motion to Re-Open Post-Judgment Proceedings be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED. The Satisfaction of Judgment is hereby partially vacated to the extent of $93,707.78 upon the condition that [the Grange] take the necessary steps to return the $93,707.78 to the account from which it should not have been taken.

The Guild has thirty days from the date this Order is signed to pay [the Grange] the additional sanctions in the amount of $9,000 imposed in the Order.”

View Re-Open and Sanction Order

OFFICIAL NOTICE OF BOARD MEETING The California State Grange Board of Directors Meeting

Date: Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time: Closed Session 9am to 11 am

Open Session 11:15 am to close of business

Location: California State Grange, 3830 U Street, Sacramento, CA

Those members wishing to address the Board of Directors must notify the State Grange Secretary by close of business on Tuesday April 17, 2018.

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

Membership Matters: Targeted

Zoom meetings scheduled

Since January we have been hosting Zoom meetings on the third Tuesday of each month to discuss membership concerns and provide resources and ideas for seeking out new members.

In the coming months, we will begin hosting targeted Zoom meetings with information that can be of specific use to Granges who have answered the Grange Health Surveys. Of course, all Granges are invited to participate, but some may find specific topics more useful than others, so filling out the Grange Health Survey to determine what topics your Grange could most benefit from is recommended.

As before, Zoom meeting will be held on the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. We may also add a few other dates/times as necessary.

State Masters and Membership Directors should pass on the information to the leaders of Subordinate Granges that have provided their Health Surveys and encourage their attendance at meetings that pertain most to them.

Grange Up!

How Oregon State Grange Shattered a 25-Year Cycle of Losses Tuesday, April 17 @ 8:30 p.m. Eastern Hosted by Susan Noah, Oregon State Grange President

Oregon State Grange President Susan Noah will talk about the Grange Up program that helped them net a gain of more than 200 members in 2017 and their expansion of the program in 2018 that is looking to be similarly successful. She will explain what they did, how local Granges use the materials and concept and take questions. If you have not taken in at least two new members who have remained active int he past few years, this is a great meeting to be a part of.

The Future is Bright with Juniors By Our Side

Tuesday, May 15 @ 8:30 p.m. Eastern Hosted by National Junior Grange Director Samantha Wilkins

National Junior Grange Director Samantha Wilkins will discuss the Junior Grange program and the Junior 1+ program. For Granges struggling to see their own future, but wishing to encourage a new generation of members, this is an important topic. Every Grange member can be a part of growing the Grange from the youngest of members, so please plan to join us for this meeting, especially members from Granges who answered that they do not have Junior members so you can learn more about the program and how to attract Juniors and young families.

Reaping the Reward of Seeds already Sown

Tuesday, June 19 @ 8:30 p.m. Eastern Hosted by National Grange Sales, Programs, Benefits and Membership Recognition Director Loretta Washington

Loretta Washington will talk about how Granges can start or bolster their relationships with local 4-H, FFA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, NJHA chapters and other youth leadership and agricultural groups. These young people are already primed with values and concerns important to Granges and should easily see where their current service can help a Grange and where they could fit into a Grange in their community long after they've "aged out" of their youth organization. For those who answered they have no interaction with such groups, this is an important meeting to put on your calendar.

Know Your Mission

Tuesday, July 17 @ 8:30 p.m. Eastern Hosted by National Grange Lecturer Christine Hamp

National Lecturer Christine Hamp will join us to discuss mission statements for local Granges and how they can help focus a Grange and ignite new fires. This is great for all Granges who have not yet adopted a mission statement or who do not have a fairly defined identity and outreach strategy.

Meeting as a Grange

Tuesday, August 21 @ 8:30 p.m. Eastern Hosted by National Grange President Betsy E. Huber and National Grange Communications & Development Director Amanda Brozana Rios

We will talk about ways to identify public spaces for meetings in your community and other options that may make new members feel welcome and allow you to hold Grange meetings in a fashion more like that in our manual. If you said you currently meet in a restaurant or a members’ home, this is a great meeting to attend.

Have an idea for a Zoom meeting? Email

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March 2018

Motion to Compel and Sanctions awarded to the Grange

This last week, Judge Shubb granted the Grange’s motion to compel production of additional documents in the federal trademark litigation. The court found the Guild’s responses to be deficient and overruled the Guild’s boilerplate objections to producing the requested documents, ordering that responsive documents be produced. Additionally, the court sanctioned the Guild $700 for failing to provide the required discovery.

This order represents another positive development for the Grange as we work to obtain full discovery in the lawsuits. We will continue to keep you posted as to developments in lawsuits against the Guild.

Click to View the Motion to Compel




Congress is on a two-week Easter recess until April 9. Before leaving Washington, the lawmakers managed to pass a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package to fund the government through the September, the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The bill was loaded with extraneous non-appropriations provisions as it became possibly the last legislative train to leave the station before midterm elections. Many of these add-on provisions were considered must-pass legislation by congressional leaders that would have a tough time making it through both houses the remainder of this year in the growing contentious political climate in Washington.

For the past several months, the agriculture community was guardedly optimistic that action on the new farm bill would begin by April in the House followed soon thereafter in the Senate. Agriculture committee leaders and committee staffs in both the House and Senate had been negotiating legislative details and writing a draft bill title-by title and section-by-section for months. Just days before the recess, rumors leaked out that the food assistance title of the House draft contained work requirements for able-bodied men to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Rank and file Democrats on the House committee, feeling they should have been involved earlier in SNAP discussions, announced they would not vote for the farm bill in its present form. This action brings farm bill progress to a halt for the foreseeable future. Prospects for Hill action on other priority legislative initiatives such as immigration, agriculture labor workforce, infrastructure, healthcare and telecommunications are diming and could get pushed into 2019.

Trade continues to be a contentious economic, political and diplomatic issue in Washington, around the country and among our international trading partners. As the Administration threatens to place tariffs on imports from certain countries, those countries quickly prepare restrictive retaliatory tariffs against American exports. U.S. food and agriculture exports are expected to suffer the most from a trade war.

The Omnibus Package

In addition to appropriating funds to run the federal government through September 30, the omnibus provided a legislative vehicle to pass a plethora of unrelated items deemed must-pass by congressional leadership and by the constituency of those pieces of legislation. Here is a summary of several items that interest Grangers:


• $1 billion in new funding for grants to states and Indian tribes to address the opioid epidemic including rural communities
• Increased funds for special education
• Increased funds for charter schools
• New funds for rural health care
• Restoration of funds for adoption and guardianship initiatives
• $32 million for telemedicine and distance learning grants in rural areas


• $600 million for the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a new rural broadband loan and grant pilot program
• $30 million for a grant program to finance rural broadband transmission in eligible areas

Co-Op Tax Fix

The recent tax bill contained an unintended consequence known as Section 199A. This deduction was designed to give pass-through entities (the way many farms are structured) benefits similar to corporations whose tax rate was slashed to 21 percent. Farmers who sell to co-ops could deduct 20 percent of their gross sales while farmers who sell to other companies can only deduct 20 percent of their net business income. The 199A "fix" states farmers can now deduct 20 percent of net farm income regardless of the entity they sell to.

Manure Reporting Exemption

In April 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA's 2008 exemption for animal operations from reporting emissions under Superfund and other laws were illegal and animal operations should be regulated like toxic Superfund sites. Animal agriculture estimated that up to 200,000 farms and ranches would be required to report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from manure. This legislation exempts farms and ranches from those reporting requirements.

Relief for Truckers

A 2012 law required the Department of Transportation to create and enforce an electronic logging device rule for truckers. The rule became effective in February 2016 and required all truckers who were currently required to keep records to install and use an electronic logging device. Federal law limits maximum drive time to 11 consecutive hours followed by 10 consecutive hours of rest. For a great many livestock haulers, this is not enough drive time to move live animals safely to today's markets. This legislation delays the rule one year to allow for animal haulers, animal agriculture and the DOT to attempt a compromise.

Fire Funding Finally

For decades, our 154 national forests have needed attention, repair and funding for fire suppression. This legislation contains $2.25 billion of new budget authority available to the Departments of Agriculture and Interior for fire suppression, forest management and mitigation of the frequency of wildfires. National forests were originally envisioned as working forests with multiple objectives: to improve and protect the forests, to secure favorable watershed conditions, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber. Only 10 percent of the annual growth on national forests is currently being harvested leaving the other 90 percent to accumulate as fuel for forest fires and bug infestation. The legislation is intended to fix these problems.

The omnibus also includes a two year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program to support schools in counties with large areas of federal lands and a low real estate tax base.


"Our character is what we do when no one is looking." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street." Elbert Hubbard

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." Abraham Lincoln

"Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what." Harper Lee

"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please join us in Washington, DC on April 15 - 18, 2018 as we begin our work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange priorities.


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

Download the Latest Newsletter

Through conversation, knowledge, respect, passion, transparency and understanding, one by one, with the old and the new, we are building our fraternal order and communities, toward a positive future, utilizing the strength within the Grange, proven through a 150 year commitment to our members. American River Grange # 172

Please help us welcome American River Grange #172 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website:, American River Grange #172 is in the process of becoming compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of American River Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

American River Grange 2720 Kilgore Road Rancho Cordova, CA

Good work worthy Patrons!

Visit American River Grange #172 Facebook Page

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Today the Officers and Directors of the California State Grange met at the California State Grange Headquarters for the first time in nearly 5 years. The day was filled with pride, relief, gratitude, bittersweet feelings, and surreal reflections.

We would like thank the following people for their unflagging support. The California State Grange could not have survived and succeeded without them:

• The members of the California State Grange
• The Delegates to the National Grange from 2014 - 2017
• Ed Luttrell, Past National Master
• Betsy Huber, National Grange Master
• The current and past Officers and Directors of the National and State Grange
• Matt Johnson (Massachusetts) First Year Delegate Mentor
• Bro. Chris Heath
• Jeff Skinner, Mark Serlin, Marty Jensen, Tom Riordan, Jim Bikoff, Bruce McDonald, and Holly Lance
• All of the other Attorneys that have done SO much great, professional work in all of the various Grange lawsuits
• Cynthia Komski, First Lady

It has been a long and arduous path, and there is much more still to do to return Grange property to our Order, but we are well on the way to restoring the California State Grange and putting the conflict that has divided our fraternal organization for years behind us. Justice has been served, and the future is bright. Thank you again to all for your support through this trying time.

Click here to view larger image

Focused and to the point!

March 22nd, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over federal courts in California) issued its decision on the Guild's appeal of the injunction entered by Judge Shubb in the federal trademark litigation that prohibits the Guild from using the "Grange" name. The Guild's appeal also challenged the sanctions awarded by Judge Shubb as a result of the Guild's "willful and deliberate" violation of the injunction. (The sanctions ended up being approximately $250,000, which the Grange recently learned the Guild paid with charitable funds held by the California Grange Foundation and with almost $100,000 in Grange funds taken from the California State Grange's account at Morgan Stanley in violation of a state court order; the Grange is pursuing all available remedies for the Guild's wrongful actions with respect to these funds.)

I am pleased to inform you that the Ninth Circuit affirmed Judge Shubb in all respects, including the permanent injunction and the sanctions award. Although Mr. McFarland told you he was confident the Guild would prevail on this appeal, once again his claims with respect to legal matters were flat wrong. As always, we urge you to read the court documents themselves, and not simply rely on propaganda or "spin" from the Guild.

This decision is only the most recent of numerous orders from the state and federal trial courts granting the Grange relief for the wrongful actions of the Guild. The California State Grange is actively moving to recover control of its property at this very moment -- there will be much more information to come.

View the Court of Appeals Decision

State Grange seeks return of $80,000 paid to McFarland

As we reported earlier, you may recall that in 2016 the Guild paid $80,000 of Grange funds to Mr. McFarland as a "retirement package" or "severance agreement" (the Guild's justification for the payment changed depending on when you asked them). Of course, Mr. McFarland neither retired nor was terminated from his position with the Guild, and continues in that role to this day. Mr. McFarland deposited that $80,000 payment into his personal Morgan Stanley account.

With the appointment of the receiver, the California State Grange's efforts to recover control of Grange property continue full speed ahead.

While nobody wants to sue people individually, when individuals act brazenly to take Grange money, the California State Grange is left with little choice. Accordingly, a complaint has been filed against Mr. McFarland as an individual to recover the $80,000, plus additional damages, alleging that the $80,000 "retirement" or "severance" payment was a fraudulent transfer. We promised to pursue the return of Grange property and we will continue to do so.

View Fraudulent Transfer Motion

Receiver Appointed to Return Grange Property to the California State Grange

Today, March 21st, Judge Brown granted the California State Grange's motion to appoint a receiver to return Grange property to the California State Grange. Due to the Guild's ongoing dissipation of Grange funds in violation of court orders and the trusts placed on those funds, Judge Brown took the unusual step of granting the motion from the bench and issuing the order at the conclusion of the hearing. The receiver will now move to take possession of property held by the Guild so that it can be returned to the California State Grange pursuant to Judge Brown's judgment that was affirmed by the Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. More to come ....

View the Receiver Order issued by Judge Brown

California State Grange requests re-opening of Grange TM1 - Yes you read that correctly

Defendants’ alleged fraud on the court, namely, the claimed surreptitious misappropriation of funds from the Morgan Stanley and California Grange Foundation accounts to satisfy the Court’s judgment awarding the National Grange attorney fees. A copy of the Rule 60 Motion, including supporting exhibits and the proposed order, is attached. The Rule 60 Motion to Re-Open Post-Judgment Proceedings will be held on April 16, 2018. The Guild’s response will be due on April 2, 2018

Read the motion to reopen here


• Let your voice be the reason for change
• Grange Month 2018 Event Poster
• Zoom! Another way to connect for Grange
• Preserve tradition while taking the next step on your Grange journey
• Save on hotels using Grange discount codes
• Promo kit, more on sale for Grange Month events
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• 'If you build it, they will come'
• Promote Grange with a folding display
• USDA launches webpage highlighting resources to help rural communities address opioid crisis
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest
• Grange Foundation 2018 Mercantile
• American handicraft raffle
• New partnership announced with Weather Ready Nation
• FRS Rural Youth App Challenge
• 10 things to know about your new Medicare card
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation
• National Grange Building Fund Pledge Form
• Make it a Good Day!

View the March Patrons Chain

National Funding

Opportunities Throughout the U.S.

Support for Land Acquisitions to Conserve Critical Habitats

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Acres for America Acres for America, a partnership between Walmart Stores and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), was established to provide urgently needed funding for projects that conserve important large-scale habitats for fish, wildlife, and plants through land acquisitions and perpetual conservation easements. Preference will be given to projects that achieve more than one of the following program priorities: conserve critical habitats for birds, fish, plants, and wildlife; connect existing protected lands to unify wild places and protect critical migration routes; provide access for people to enjoy the outdoors; and ensure the future of local economies that depend on forestry, ranching, and recreation. All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services. Nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, Indian tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate NFWF regional office to discuss project ideas prior to applying. Pre-proposals are due April 26, 2018; invited full proposals must be submitted by June 28, 2018. Visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website to review the 2018 Request for Proposals.

Pro Bono Financial Planning Services Funded

Foundation for Financial Planning

The mission of the Foundation for Financial Planning is to help people take control of their financial lives by connecting the financial planning community with people in need. The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide to support the delivery of pro bono financial planning to populations who could not otherwise afford or access financial planning services. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 support programs helping many diverse groups, including active military members and wounded veterans, people with cancer, seniors and family caregivers, domestic violence survivors, general low-income families, etc. Grants are provided to organizations that engage Certified Financial Planner professionals as volunteers, include one-on-one engagements between financial planner volunteers and pro bono clients, and help people in need of financial guidance or in a financial crisis who are underserved by the market and couldn’t ordinarily access quality, ethical advice. Online applications must be submitted by April 30, 2018. Grant guidelines and application information are available on the Foundation’s website.

Grants Enhance Innovative K-12 Projects

Voya Unsung Heroes

The Voya Unsung Heroes program provides grants to K-12 educators nationwide that utilize new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning. Full-time educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, and classified staff employed by accredited K-12 public or private schools in the United States are eligible to apply. The 100 finalists each receive an award of $2,000. At least one award will be granted in each of the 50 United States, provided one or more qualified applications are received from each state. Of the 100 finalists, three will be selected for additional financial awards of $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000. All awards must be used to further the projects within the school or school system. Applications must be submitted online by April 30, 2018. Visit the Voya Unsung Heroes website to access the application and learn more about the program.

Outdoor Adventure Programs Supported

The North Face Explore Fund

The North Face Explore Fund supports nonprofit organizations in the U.S. that are looking to increase participation in the outdoors and work in innovative ways to protect our environment. Grants are made in the following categories: The Enabling New Explorers category focuses on programs that introduce underrepresented communities to outdoor adventures in potentially new and interesting ways. The Protecting Our Environment category focuses on programs that work to protect our ecosystems and our ability to continue to enjoy them. Across both categories, programs with strong outdoor engagement in activities such as skiing, kayaking, backpacking, etc. are preferred. Grants generally range from $5,000 to $25,000. The application deadline is April 5, 2018. Visit the Fund’s website to submit an online application.

Regional Funding

Opportunities for Specific Areas

Assistance for Grassroots Organizations in Central Appalachia

Appalachian Community Fund: General Fund

The Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) encourages grassroots social change in Central Appalachia (eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and all of West Virginia). ACF provides support to community-based organizations working for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. ACF’s General Fund provides operating support and project grants of up to $3,000 to grassroots organizations that are addressing the underlying causes of poverty and oppression in the region. The focus is on organizations with budgets less than $200,000 that have limited access to traditional funding sources. The proposed work must address change at a systemic level and demonstrate some understanding of forms of oppression, especially racism. The application deadline is April 12, 2018. Visit ACF’s website to download the General Fund guidelines.

Funds for Health Organizations in Utah

Utah Medical Association Foundation

The Utah Medical Association Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that strive to promote the health of the citizens of Utah. Grants are provided to nonprofit organizations that work to improve or support education of physicians and nurses, improve facilities and treatment options, and support public health projects that serve to mitigate or prevent disease. The upcoming application deadline is April 13, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to download the application form.

Community Organizations in the Upper Midwest Recognized

Bush Foundation: Bush Prize for Community Innovation

The Bush Prize for Community Innovation honors innovative nonprofit organizations and government entities with a track record of making great ideas happen in the regions the Bush Foundation serves: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. The Bush Prize does not prioritize any specific issues and instead is open to community innovations that address all sorts of needs and opportunities. Prize winners will receive promotion and recognition, along with a flexible grant of 25% of the last fiscal year budget, up to a $500,000 grant. At least half of the Bush Prize winners will be organizations that address racial and economic disparities. Applications will be accepted through April 12, 2018. Visit the Bush Foundation’s website to learn more about the Bush Prize application process.

Federal Funding

Opportunities from the U.S. Government

Funds Available for Fire Departments

Department of Homeland Security

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program provides support to fire departments to recruit, hire, and retain firefighters. The application deadline is April 27, 2018.

Urban Forestry Projects Supported

Forest Service

The National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program supports forestry projects on non-federal public land that have a national or multi-state impact and application. The application deadline is April 30, 2018.

The Board of Directors meeting scheduled for Saturday March 24th and 25th has be relocated from the Wyandotte Grange Hall to the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento. The hotel is located at 926 J Street in Sacramento.

The meeting will begin with an open session from 9:00 AM till 3:00 PM, and at 3:30 PM the meeting will reopen in Closed (Executive) session.

On Sunday the 25th, the meeting will reconvene at 9:00 AM in open session, closing at 3:00 PM.

Grange to Guild: Provide the information

On Monday the California State Grange filed a motion to compel discovery and for sanctions against the Guild as it relates to the main CA State case. You can read the full motion here.

View Motion to Compel with Sanctions

Recently the National Grange started publishing a quarterly news magazine called Good Day!.

If you are interested in what is happening in the Grange, on a national level, then you should consider subscribing to "Good Day!". It is a high quality and very informative publication, with a member subscription price of $14.00 a year.

In order to allow you to preview several issues of Good Day!, we have partnered with the National Grange in providing these exclusive electronic editions so that you can judge for your self what a quality source of news this magazine is.

Click To View Winter 2017 Issue No. 1

Click To View Sprint 2017 Issue No. 2

Click To Subscribe Now




In Washington these days, everyone and everything appear to be completely off balance at times. On any given day and on any given issue, there are several competing forces in play. The liberal and conservative media report on the same topic from such differing perspectives that it's hard sometimes to believe they're talking about the same subject. Caucuses within political parties play the spoiler as much as competing parties once were. Every time a bipartisan solution begins to develop, there's a rush to discredit it no matter how good or bad it is. Unsubstantiated reporting seems to be rampant and every blogger tries to be an expert. Social media at times is as important as factual information in forming a large chunk of public opinion.

Heavy political attention and big campaign dollars are already turning toward midterm elections this fall. Primary campaigns are underway in many states for Senators and districts for Representatives. Close to 20 senior House Republicans have announced their retirement, sparking excitement among Democrats about their possibility to recapture the House majority. Democrats may be unlikely to gain control of the Senate since 26 Democrats and just eight Republicans are up for reelection. Most incumbent Republican senators continue to be popular back home. Legislation has been slow to move and will get even slower now. Unfortunately, the legislative window is closing. By Memorial Day, any action on bills will be hard to come by. By Labor Day, campaigning takes over the legislative highway and most legislation goes into neutral.


This is an especially active time for coalitions .The National Grange is an active member of several major coalitions in Washington concerned with health care (Medicare and Medicaid, drug availability, access to care, , telecommunications (broadband, Lifeline, net neutrality), rural schools, farm bill, immigration, infrastructure, tax reform and other coalitions on lesser issues.

Two new coalitions are depending upon the Grange to carry the message of rural and small town citizens to Congress, the media and the public. The Coalition for Paper Options was formed to assure citizens continue to have the option to receive government information, reports and questionnaires via paper if they so choose. The campaign by federal agencies to quietly force the public to go paperless before they're ready ignores the fact that over 23 million rural and small town folks lack broadband access. An op-ed by Burton Eller addressing government agencies forcing citizens to go paperless before they're ready appeared in Washington's The Hill Newsletter.

Connect Americans Now Coalition proposes to use available broadcast spectrum or "TV White Spaces" to deliver broadband to rural areas. Unassigned spectrum below 700 MHz can carry communications over far greater distances and penetrate walls and other obstacles and supposedly can wave across and around hills and mountains. The Federal Communications Commission will have to approve reallocation of this unused spectrum. The only opposition may be the broadcasting industry.

Food and Agriculture

Budget and Farm Bill

The Senate and House Agriculture Committees heaved a huge sigh of relief when the two-year budget deal won approval in Congress. Contained therein were lynchpin "fixes" for dairy and cottonproducers. Funding offsets for these farm policy revisions will not have to be accounted for in the 2018 Farm Bill baseline, thus removing a huge obstacle from upcoming farm bill negotiations. The National Grange supported this action in line with policy adopted in Spokane.

Other Provisions included in the budget deal would: • Include $2.4 billion in aid to producers hurt by last year's hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters • Lift the $125,000 payment cap for producers who sold livestock at a reduced price due to natural disaster • Remove the $20 million cap on the Emergency Assistance Program for livestock, honey bees and farm-raised fish • Double acreage eligible for the Tree Assistance Program from 500 to 1,000 acres • Revive the dollar/gallon tax credit for biodiesel

Ranking minority member of the House Agriculture Committee Colin Peterson (D-MN) is also gathering support for an additional dairy policy change that would allow dairymen to insure margins (difference between milk prices and feed costs) up to $9.50 from the current $8 limit.

We expect committee actions on the 2018 Farm Bill to move right along once they start. Agriculture is one of the few areas where bipartisanship is still possible. The big unknown will be scheduling Senate and House floor time earlier rather than later in an election year.

Waivers for Agricultural Haulers

Producers continue asking the Department of Transportation to grant agricultural haulers a waiver and limited exemption from the electronic logging device mandate because of commodity perishability. . The exemption excludes the transportation of all agricultural commodities within 150 miles of the source of the commodities. Further, longer-haul livestock truckers need hours of service waivers in order to rapidly and humanely move animals in challenging conditions. The National Grange supports these waivers and exemptions.

Health Care


The National Grange was very active in the permanent repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in the recent two year congressional budget package. IPAB, authorized in the Affordable Care Act, was to be a board of Presidential appointees charged with recommending cuts to Medicare if spending growth reached an arbitrary level. The HHS Secretary would implement recommendations. Neither the recommendations nor the actions would be subject to administrative or judicial review.

Medicare Part D Costs

Betsy Huber wrote Seema Vera, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, supporting the Director's Request for Information (RFI) on lowering Medicare Part D costs. A major objective is to drive down patient out-of-pocket costs at pharmacy counters. CMS hopes to identify ways to increase accountability for Pharmacy Benefit Managers and make it harder for them to pocket rebates and discounts intended for patients.

Rural Health Care

Congress' budget deal restored funding for two critical rural health programs. Community Health Centers were allocated $3.8 billion for 2018 and $4 billion for 2019. CHCs care for about 27 million patients nationwide. Congress extended the Children's Health Insurance Program for another ten years. CHIP serves as a safety net for about 8.6 million kids nationwide. The National Grange supported these initiatives.

Opioid Help

Congress is moving to take a second crack at opioid legislation as the crisis grows to more than 42,000 deaths per year. On the House side, Energy and Commerce Chairman Walden (R-OR.) is pushing to have legislation out of the House by Memorial Day. Senators Portman (R-OH) and Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are crafting legislation in the Senate. Opioid recovery professionals stress the need to bolster the opioid addiction treatment system with infrastructure, treatment spots, more facilities and treatment professionals. The National Grange supports these initiatives.

340B Specialty Drugs

National Grange president Betsy joined 23 major patient advocacy groups to thank Senate and House sponsors of legislation to return the 340B specialty drug discount program to its original intent of helping vulnerable patients. Lack of program oversight and lax regulations have caused greater profits for hospitals and fewer discounts for vulnerable and uninsured patients. The legislation would require hospitals to disclose how they reinvest 340B revenue to increase charity care for patients.


False Start

The Senate turned to open-ended immigration debate the week of February 12. Debate ended four days later with no immigration solutions in sight. The core objective was to see if Senators could somehow agree on a "four pillars" strategy that President Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers initially agreed to. The four pillars consisted of a fix for: • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA or "Dreamers") • A border security package • Family-based immigration ("Chain Migration") • The diversity lottery (Visas to immigrants from countries with historically low migration levels)

Ag Workers

Agriculture producers are still looking for a fix to the ag workforce crisis. Ag lobbyists (including the Grange) were hoping for an immigration package to pass the Senate so the House could include Goodlatte's (R-VA) Ag Act creating a new and simpler H-2C two year work permit program for agriculture. Frankly, any chance now for an ag worker bill to pass Congress in this election year may be slim. Complications

While most producers support Goodlatte's proposed H-2C ag worker bill, the Western Growers (fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, tree nuts) are now opposing it. The Growers object to the requirement that long-time ag workers must return to their home countries to apply for a new H-2C visa. This split among Agriculture further dooms chances for ag worker legislation for a while.


Debate on the Hill now moves to infrastructure. Rural infrastructure needs are a priority for both the Administration and Congress. President Trump still insists that 25 percent of any infrastructure funding package go to rural areas. The President and Congress say rural broadband expansion is a priority corner post within rural infrastructure as is rural health care. Keeping these two priorities at the forefront of the infrastructure agenda for the President and Congress will be a challenge for the Grange.



Lifeline is a government program, funded by the Universal Service Fund, to provide low income, elderly, disabled and disadvantaged citizens with connectivity to the rest of the world. For most of Lifeline users, service is a nominal landline or wireless monthly plan. The majority of Lifeline customers get services from wireless resellers. A 2017 GAO report found cases of waste, fraud and abuse by some resellers. Subsequently, some members of Congress and the Federal Communications Commission are proposing to remove wireless resellers from the market. Betsy Huber has written the FCC and several legislators on the Hill to say that while the Grange strongly objects to waste, fraud and abuse, there are reputable resellers in the market and let's not "throw the baby out with the bath water."

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a tough issue, principally because of its name. Net Neutrality defines broadband as a communications service that essentially makes it a public utility. Well, everyone doesn't need the same service at the same price for the same priorities at the same speed. FCC Chairman Pai is proposing to classify broadband as an information service not subject to 1930's telephone monopoly regulations. The Grange has supported Chairman Pai's proposal at the FCC and to several members of Congress. The Grange's mission is to connect rural and small town America's schools, libraries, farms, hospitals, clinics, first -responders and entrepreneurial start-ups. Because of distance and sparse populations, the "pay-for" is not there under the utility -based system like Net Neutrality. New connectivity technology is evolving fast that can get through buildings, around hills and over mountains over longer distances. For rural America, it's all about getting connected, not how fast or how cheaply Snapchat, video games, latest movies or other apps download

Broadband Via "TV White Spaces"?

White spaces refer to unused low frequencies that operate below 700MHz. This is unassigned spectrum that can be used to deliver broadband access, services, and applications. This available spectrum is suited for delivering broadband to rural areas because it can travel over great distances, penetrate buildings and leap over hills. The cost-effectiveness of white space connectivity is appealing. The National Grange is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the use of unused TV white spaces spectrum for wireless broadband expansion.

Small Cells Are Big for Rural Internet

Small cell wireless transmitters operate 100 times faster than current wireless systems and deliver 5G broadband. Their antenna are about 3 cubic feet in volume, are unobtrusive, and can be placed on existing poles, buildings and other structures. They can be placed in existing rights-of-way without much impact. The National Grange is supporting efforts by the FCC to improve old Federal rules to expedite opening this gateway for rural internet.

Please join us in Washington, DC on April 15 - 18, 2018 as we begin our work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange priorities.

Please join us in Washington, DC on April 15 - 18, 2018 as we begin our work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange priorities.


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

Click here to download this issue

National Funding

Opportunities Throughout the U.S.

Support for Innovative Public Art in U.S. Cities

Bloomberg Philanthropies: Public Art Challenge

The Public Art Challenge, an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, will grant at least three cities up to $1 million each over two years to support innovative temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private collaborations, and strengthen local economies. The Challenge encourages mayors to partner with artists, elevating the value of including the creative sector when developing solutions to significant urban issues. Submissions are encouraged from all artistic disciplines, including visual and performing arts and multimedia projects. The lead applicant should be a city of at least 30,000 residents. The application deadline is April 19, 2018. Visit the Public Art Challenge website to learn more about the program and to submit an online application. Start-up Funding for Music, Education, and Community Organizing Projects

Sparkplug Foundation

The Sparkplug Foundation primarily provides grants to start-up nonprofit organizations or new projects of established nonprofits that are addressing the fields of music, education, and community organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In Education and Teaching, the Foundation funds projects that deal with "the whole student" and with learning as a community activity. Through Community Organizing, the Foundation encourages activist strategies for addressing institutional injustices and for building a just society. The current focus is on ground-level community organizing at the intersection of utilities and energy infrastructure, housing and community resources, and racial justice. The Foundation also provides limited support for projects in Israel that involve Palestinian communities. The first step in the application process is to complete the online questionnaire by March 28, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to review its mission and funding guidelines, as well as the online application instructions and appropriate deadlines. Fundraising Challenge for Local Nonprofits

A Community Thrives

A Community Thrives (ACT) is a social impact fundraising program, supported by the USA TODAY NETWORK and the Gannett Foundation, that is focused on empowering communities to take on local challenges and share the issues important to them around education, wellness, and culture, on a national platform. During the campaign, nonprofit organizations have the chance to raise funds for their charities through the CrowdRise platform. At the end of the crowdfunding period, the Gannett Foundation will award a total of $600,000 in grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to selected organizations. Interested organizations must apply for a CrowdRise campaign by March 15, 2018. To learn more about how to participate in the program visit the ACT CrowdRise homepage.

Grants Promote Contemporary Concert Music

The Amphion Foundation

The purpose of the Amphion Foundation is to promote excellence in, and public appreciation of, contemporary concert music, particularly by American composers. Grants are provided to publicly-supported nonprofit performing ensembles, presenters, festivals, and music service organizations that have a history of substantial commitment to contemporary concert music at a high level of excellence. In general, grants range between $1,000 and $7,500, although larger grants may be awarded to major performing organizations with an extraordinary commitment to contemporary concert music or a particularly significant project. Applying organizations must have been in existence for at least two years, and have completed two full seasons of programming prior to the time of application. Applications from performing ensembles will be accepted through April 1, 2018. (The deadline for presenters, festivals, and music service organizations is September 15, 2018.) Visit the Foundation’s website for grant program guidelines.

Regional Funding

Opportunities for Specific Areas

Direct Services for Seniors Supported in Seven States

Retirement Research Foundation: Responsive Grants Program

The Retirement Research Foundation is committed to supporting programs that improve the quality of life for older Americans. Through the Responsive Grants Program, the Foundation awards Direct Service grants to nonprofit organizations located in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, or Wisconsin. The focus is on community programs designed to maintain older persons in their homes, offer supportive services to older persons in residential settings, and improve the quality of care for older persons with chronic conditions. Grants are provided for developing, testing, and implementing direct service programs or expanding existing programs. (Advocacy, training, and research projects, all with national relevance, are considered from organizations located anywhere in the U.S.) The remaining proposal deadlines for 2018 are May 1 and August 1. (Applicants are invited to submit optional brief letters of inquiry in advance of proposals.) Visit the Foundation’s Responsive Grants webpage at to learn more about the funding guidelines and application procedure.

Funds for Early Childhood Initiatives in Minnesota

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation: Early Childhood Care and Education: Health Equity in Action The mission of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation is to make a healthy difference in communities throughout the state by advancing health equity and improving conditions where people live, learn, work, and play. The Early Childhood Care and Education: Health Equity in Action funding opportunity is intended to make a healthy difference in people’s lives by advancing health equity through projects in early childhood care and education. To achieve this goal, the Foundation plans to fund work that will increase access to and quality of early childhood care and education for children from birth to five years old. Successful applicants will focus on creating or contributing to systems change in early childhood care and education settings to decrease inequities. Organizations may apply for grants of up to $100,000 per year for one or two years. Applicants must be located in and serving Minnesota. The application deadline is April 10, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to download the funding guidelines. Grants Increase School Breakfast Programs in Massachusetts Schools

Eos Foundation: After the Bell, Breakfast in the Classroom

The Eos Foundation provides start-up grant funds to Massachusetts schools and districts that seek to increase school breakfast participation to 80% or more via the free, After the Bell, Breakfast in the Classroom (ATB BIC) programming for low-income children in grades pre-K-12. The Foundation provides one-time grant awards up to $10,000 to Massachusetts pre-K-12 schools, school districts, and charter public schools eager to make breakfast part of their school day by launching or expanding ATB BIC programming. The application deadline is May 10, 2018, for programming taking place at the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year. Visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about the application process. Support for Child Centered Parent-Community Initiatives in Oregon

Northwest Health Foundation: Families Leading for Health and Education: Impact Partnership Fund

The Northwest Health Foundation and its partners are offering grants to nonprofit organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington through the Families Leading for Health and Education: Impact Partnership Fund. The Fund will support community-based organizations working to support parent leadership, voice, and resilience to improve outcomes in education, healthcare and early learning. The Fund seeks to partner with organizations committed to working with parents, families, and community members on efforts that focus on children from prenatal to age eight. Organizations may apply for Capacity Building grants ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 for up to one year or Implementation grants ranging from $75,000 to $125,000 for up to two years. Letters of intent are due on April 4, 2018; invited full proposals must be submitted by June 14, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to download the Impact Partnership Fund request for proposals.

Federal Funding

Opportunities from the U.S. Government

Pool Safety Funded Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Pool Safely Grant Program provides state and local governments with assistance to help implement enforcement and education programs, with the goal of preventing drownings and drain entrapments in pools and spas. The application deadline is April 2, 2018.

Program Supports Native Youth Leadership

Administration for Children and Families

The Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (I-LEAD) program empowers Native youth to address priorities such as economic and social self-sufficiency for Native Americans, community well-being, tribal government capacity, strong families, and culturally-appropriate strategies to meet the social service needs of Native Americans. The application deadline is April 9, 2018.


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Contact Us For More Information

February 2018

Hundreds of Thousands Taken

While we had hoped to have the receiver in place to collect all Grange property from the Guild and return it to the California State Grange this week, Judge Brown was not in court on Friday (2/23) and rescheduled the Motion to appoint the receiver for March 21st. The receiver action is necessary because new discovery was obtained in January that actions were taken by the leadership of both the Guild and the Foundation to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars of Grange funds in violation of the court orders and charitable trusts applicable to the funds. We look forward to the receiver being appointed when the hearing proceeds in March.

As always, we encourage everybody to read the actual court documents, and not simply rely on the Guild’s spin. We have attached the documents that are before Judge Brown.

Delaration of Jeff Skinner - With exhibits

Declaration of Jim Bikoff - with Exhibits

Notice of Motion


• National, regional events add to Grange experience
• Grange Month 2018
• Your option for information via paper is in jeopardy
• Grange enters new partnership for Vets
• Make plans to attend regional conferences
• Grange civics booklet available
• On Medicare? New card arriving in April will protect your identity
• Cash in on member benefits
• Quilt blocks, makers sought
• Grange Foundation Mercantile
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Proclaim Grange's great legacy in 2018!
• Celebration of the Sesquicentennial
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest
• 2018 National Grange Photography Showcase
• 2018 Evening of Excellence
• National Grange Building Fund pledge form
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation


The National Grange - 1616 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 - Phone: 1-888-4-GRANGE

View the Latest Newsletter

Preparations are well underway for the 143rd Annual Session of the California State Grange. Click on any of the titles below for more details.

Dates: Saturday, September 22, 2018 - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Location: Redwood Empire Fairgrounds - Ukiah, CA.

View Latest On Website

February 22, 2018

Brothers and Sisters,

As many of you know, on November 30, the California Court of Appeal issued a lengthy, well-reasoned decision affirming the state trial court's judgment declaring that the California Guild must return all Grange property to the California State Grange. The Guild appealed that decision to the California Supreme Court. Its petition for review argued that the Court of Appeal had not properly stated the law applicable to fraternal organizations like the Grange, and erred in enforcing the rules of the National Grange.

On February 14, the Supreme Court denied the Guild's petition for review. In so doing, it confirmed that the Court of Appeal's reasoning and conclusion were correct statements of the facts and California law relevant to the Grange. The Supreme Court's ruling means that the appeal in the state court is now over, and the judgment entered in the trial court is final.

The California State Grange now is moving to recover control of its property, and to seek redress for any Grange property that the Guild has spent since 2013. It has filed a motion to appoint a receiver to immediately take possession of all property held by the Guild and transfer it to the California State Grange; that motion will be heard on February 23. (Editor Note: Motion will be held on March 21st, as Judge Brown will not be available on February 23rd) The California State Grange has also filed a motion for summary judgment to establish the specific amount of Grange property that the Guild should have returned following the Charter revocation in 2013. That motion will be heard on March 5. If successful, the California State Grange will be permitted to collect money from the Guild to repay funds from Grange accounts spent by the Guild since 2013 for its own purposes. Finally, the California State Grange is analyzing its options to pursue individual officers of the Guild and other third parties to recover monies that they have wrongfully taken.

The Supreme Court's ruling represents the culmination of five long years of litigation in the state court. This victory would not have been possible without the perseverance, sacrifice, and resolute faith in our Order displayed by Grangers around the country. I want to thank every one of our brothers and sisters who helped make this victory possible, from those on the front lines in California, to the many Granges in other states whose members donated their time and money to support our efforts, to the countless Grangers who sent kind words and good thoughts that helped sustain us while we waited for the lawsuit to run its course. This great result is a tribute to all of you, and it is a vindication of the fraternal values that bind our Order together.

Now, we can begin the process of bringing the state court litigation against the Guild to an end, and returning to the work of building our Order and serving our communities, as generations of Grangers have done since 1867. Actions on the two trademark cases are still pending in federal court but we hope they will soon be resolved also. I know that, when we all come together to work to advance the ideals of our Order, we can do great things.

Fraternally yours,

Betsy E. Huber
National Grange President

Wednesday Febuary 14th, the California Supreme Court entered its order denying the Guild’s petition for review of the state court judgment that all Grange property held by the Guild belongs to the California State Grange, not the Guild. By denying the petition, the Supreme Court confirmed that the appellate court’s reasoning and conclusion in affirming the judgment were correct statements of the facts and California law relevant to the Grange. You can read the appellate court’s decision here.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the appeal in the state court is now over, and the judgment entered by Judge Brown is final. The California State Grange is proceeding with the steps to recover control of its property pursuant to the judgment, and to seek redress for money that the Guild spent that should have been returned to the Grange. We know that many Grangers have been confused by the “spin” put out by the Guild, and were waiting on the outcome of the appeal for clarity as to their obligations and the status of their Grange’s property. The appellate courts have now spoken, and made clear that the rules of the Order have meaning.

If your Grange is not in good standing, we urge you to carefully consider the appellate court’s ruling, including by discussing the matter with an independent attorney, so that you fully understand the ruling’s meaning and import. We sincerely hope that with the conclusion of the appeal, we can continue the process of healing the Grange in California, and bringing all Granges back into good standing. If you have any questions about how your Grange can do that, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail Ed Komski or any other member of the California State Grange’s Executive Committee.

View the Published Ruling

National Grange Legislative Fly-In 2018

Registration Now Available

Please join us in Washington, D.C. on April 15-18, 2018 as we work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange policy priorities. Spring is an extremely crowded and busy time in Washington, DC. Tourists and students from around the country and abroad flock to Washington on spring trips making hotel rooms are scare.

Appointments with Representatives and Senators are a challenge to confirm, therefore the National Grange encourages those members who will be attending the 2018 Fly-In to register, reserve hotel rooms, and make Capitol Hill appointments early.

--------------------------------------------------------- Schedule

Sun. April, 15 - Arrival and check-in - Evening mix and mingle dessert social at the hotel Mon. April 16 - Issue briefings and speakers at the National Grange - Agency visits - Congressional Capitol Hill appointments Tues. April, 17 - Congressional Capitol Hill appointments - Late day/evening departures for some Wed. April 18 - Finish Congressional Capitol Hill appointments - Return home

--------------------------------------------------------- Hotel

Our hotel is the Quality Inn, 1587 Spring Hill Road, Vienna, VA 22182. Phone is (703) 448-8020. Our group rate is $109 + 12% sales tax per night. The cut-off date to make a reservation is March 15, 2018.

The Quality Inn is located just northwest of the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Vienna, VA. The hotel provides free parking and is just one block from the Metro's Silver Line for travel to downtown Washington, D.C. The hotel also provides a complimentary full breakfast Monday-Friday 6:30am - 9:30am and 7:00am - 10:00am on Saturday and Sunday.

Please make your reservations directly with the hotel and mention that you would like to book with the National Grange's block of rooms.

NOTE: The National Grange WILL release any un-booked rooms on March 15th and you WILL be on your own for housing.

For more information and online registration click here

Faith, Hope & Perseverance

This has been a defining time for the members of Jacinto Grange #431 in Willows. 57 members stood up and recovered their Hall from 2 individuals who had joined the Guild and locked out the membership.

The aggressive behavior by the Guild started last year when I was invited to Jacinto Grange to speak at their regularly scheduled meeting. Apparently worried that its propaganda would not be able to stand up to facts about what was actually happening in the California State Grange, the Guild was determined to prevent me from meeting with the Jacinto Grange members. Mr. McFarland and his followers proceeded to attempt to cancel the meeting, change the locks to the Hall, and call the sheriff. Nevertheless, the members persisted, and held the meeting in the parking lot, with Mr. McFarland and his followers bunkered down in the Grange Hall. I spoke at the meeting and took questions, and we had a very interactive meeting that left me inspired by the commitment and passion displayed by these dedicated Grangers.

On September 2, Peggy Taresh and Julie Halvik (2 former members of Jacinto Grange who had joined the Guild), with the "aid" of Mr. McFarland, Sylvia Sloan, and Bob Alvarez, took wrongful possession of the Jacinto Grange Hall and bank accounts. They did so by filing a statement of information with the California Secretary of State signed under penalty of perjury falsely stating that they were the authorized representatives of Jacinto Grange, and then filing improper amended articles of incorporation that purported to make Jacinto Grange's corporation part of the Guild. We recently have discovered that these individuals thereafter sent out at least 6 checks to the Guild from Jacinto Grange's bank account without membership knowledge or approval.

Despite the efforts of the Guild to take what had been built by generations of Grangers in Willows, the Jacinto Grange membership refused to give up. Rebecca Reed and Mayford Evans led the charge to get their Grange back. Last week, with leadership and perseverance, the goal that they set out to accomplish has been reached - they have reclaimed the Jacinto Grange Hall. The Grangers in Willows once again have their Hall to serve as their home base while they fulfill their desire to serve their community as a Grange. Please reach out to Rebecca and Mayford and the rest of the members of Jacinto Grange on their Facebook page below and congratulate them and, if you can, commit to attend their Spaghetti Dinner! The courage and commitment of Jacinto Grange in the face of the Guild's aggression speaks volumes about the spirit of the Grange as we all work to restore the California State Grange.

View Jacinto Grange Facebook page

Dear Grange Member,

Are you interested in doing business or investing in Argentina? National Grange members have been invited to participate in a Trade Mission to La Rioja and San Juan Provinces, Argentina, March 20-28, 2018. This 8-day trip will visit companies and business leaders, meet with province officials, and have time for sightseeing. Led by U.S. Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez who attended the National Grange 150th Birthday Gala in December, the tour is open to a limited number of people. Participants are only required to cover their roundtrip airfare and lodging. All internal travel, meals, seminars, and activities are covered by the trade mission.

The provinces of La Rioja and San Juan offer a wide array of distinct growing business and investment opportunities for U.S. business in key industries including agribusiness, mining, renewable energy, travel and tourism, infrastructure development, and technology services. If you have any interest in joining this trip please contact President Betsy Huber right away at, (484) 459-1957.

Find out more about this opportunity (Click Here)

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Some Good News

The U.S economy is off to a good start this year according to the major professional services and accounting from CliftonLarsonAllen. Here are several factors that will influence the 2018 economy:

• Employment is strong
• Housing market is firm
• Risk of recession appears low
• Consumer and small business confidence is high
• U.S. corporate earnings are positive

• Stocks and bonds 7-10 year returns are expected to be lower than historical averages
• Geopolitical risks (terrorism) are present
• U.S. policy uncertainty (trade, health care, immigration, etc.)

President Trump Speaks to Rural America

In April, 2017, President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. On January 8, 2018, the President and Secretary Perdue traveled to Nashville where the President delivered his Rebuilding Rural America address, his first major speech targeted toward agriculture and rural areas. The President and Secretary Perdue took this opportunity to unveil the task force recommendations to the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau. While there, the President also signed two executive orders making rural Broadband connectivity a priority of the Administration. Burton Eller was invited to represent the National Grange as a VIP guest of the White House for the President's speech and signing of the executive orders.

The major Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity recommendations are:
• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America (fundamental catalyst to transform rural America)
• Improving Quality of Life (education, health services, rural housing, infrastructure, community resiliency)
• Supporting a Rural Workforce (available, reliable, trained, skilled, educated)
• Harnessing Technological Innovation (sound science, biotechnology, research, development, productivity)
• Developing the Rural Economy (access to capital, natural resources, regulatory reform, global market, infrastructure, tax reform)

Farm Bill

Work Officially Begins

The House Agriculture Committee plans to officially begin work February 14 on the 2018 Farm Bill. Unofficial work on the bill has been ongoing for months at the staff and leadership levels at both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. As Grangers know, farm bill legislation covers much more than farms and farmers; it also includes conservation, trade, forestry, energy, credit for beginning farmers, infrastructure, jobs, research, and nutrition. In fact, 80 percent of farm bill spending is for food assistance and feeding programs. The more traditional role of the farm bill protects against farm losses due to natural disasters through disaster assistance and crop insurance. It also provides a cushion for the individual producer who suffers a poor yield or low prices through a series of farm payment programs tied to specific commodities.

Dairy and Cotton "Fixes"

The safety net /loss protection programs for dairy and cotton in the last farm bill have not worked as envisioned. As a result, dairy and cotton producers have suffered disproportionate price loss compared to other commodities. Lawmakers hope to address stronger provisions for dairy and cotton in a disaster relief bill or an omnibus spending bill to get these costly provisions out of the way before the farm bill debate heats up. Should that not happen, dairy and cotton could become stumbling blocks in farm bill negotiations later on.

Food Stamps and Crop Insurance in Play

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, continues to consume the lion's share of farm bill expenditures with 42 million people receiving SNAP benefits. USDA and some Republican members of Congress are looking at work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients. Another large farm bill expense item is crop insurance where USDA subsidizes premium costs to the producer. Several groups and some Democratic members of Congress are calling for an annual subsidy cap of $50,000. With calls from constituents to fund new farm bill programs and expand crop insurance for beginning farmers, vegetable growers and organic producers amid tough budget constraints, Congress will be challenged to find savings wherever they can. SNAP and crop insurance will be major hurdles for farm bill negotiations. The $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress last month could make passing a farm bill more difficult by starving programs of funds.

Health Care

ObamaCare Becomes More Acceptable

Congress has steadily been taking the sting out of ObamacCare. In the last two months, they have repealed the law's insurance mandate and delayed a slew of controversial taxes including the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost private health plans. More popular provisions of the law, including subsidies to help people buy coverage, expansion of Medicaid, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, remain in place. People who qualify for the subsidies can find affordable coverage but those who do not qualify face much higher premium costs.

CHIP Agreement Passed

With strong bipartisan support, Congress has extended the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2023. The $124 billion federal expenditure will provide six years coverage to nearly 9 million children and 275,000 pregnant women.

Work Requirements for Medicaid?

Guidelines could be released soon by the Trump Administration to require Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive coverage. Work requirements would only take effect if a state chooses to apply for a waiver from the federal government to impose work requirements. Currently nine states are applying to impose work requirements.


Immigration Shutters the Government

While not readily apparent to the public, the three day government shutdown in mid-January was more about immigration than funding the government. The bottom line was that Senate minority Leader Schumer (R-NY) and President Trump reached an impasse on an immigration deal. Schumer wanted to protect 700,000 so-called Dreamer/DACA immigrants from deportation and offered the President a $25 billion border wall. We're not sure what the President's counter offer was, but it caused Schumer to pull back his border wall offer and the federal government closed down for three days.

Congress Looks for Agreement

Behind the scenes, lawmakers from both parties continue to look for common agreement ground. A bipartisan group of Senators, Flake (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), and Graham (R-SC), are working on a deal that includes legal protection for Dreamers, border security, and restrictions on family migration also known as "chain migration." On the House side, a group of 150 representatives are supporting a bill by Goodlatte, (R-VA), Labrador, (R-ID), McSally (R-AZ) and McCaul, (R-TX).

Their package would allow DACA recipients a three-year renewal of legal status, but with no special pathway to citizenship (though they could apply for citizenship through normal legal pathways). It would also reduce legal immigration by 25 percent, add border control agents, and deny certain funding to so-called "sanctuary cities". The big question is whether Congress will attempt major comprehensive immigration reform or settle for a few targeted reforms like Dreamers and border wall.

Ag Workers Included

The House bill also includes the AG Act that was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee in October and strongly supported by the agriculture and food communities. The AG Act creates a new H-2C program that authorizes a 2-year work permit for work in agriculture, establishes an E-Verify system, caps worker numbers at 450,000 and requires health insurance coverage. The National Grange is a member of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and is working to include the AG Act in any immigration legislation considered by Congress.


Legislation to upgrade our nation's neglected highways, bridges, broadband, locks, dams, water systems and other public assets may have a good chance to garner bipartisan support from Congress. The tax bill is done. Next come the budget (the continuing resolution expires February 8) and immigration battles. Infrastructure brings up the rear of major legislative initiatives for 2018 and is far less partisan than taxes, budgets and immigrants. Every congressional district has serious infrastructure concerns.

President Trump pushed his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his State of The Union address. His plan calls for 25 percent of infrastructure funding to be devoted to rural areas defined as areas with less than 50,000 population. A key question is how much funding would come from the federal government and how much would need to be funded by public-private partnerships. The National Grange is a member of the Rebuild Rural Coalition which is pushing for several rural infrastructure priorities including rural Broadband deployment.

A Touch of Common Sense

"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire

"It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor." - Max Eastman

"Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." - Publilius Syrus

"The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense." - Thomas Edison

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people." - W.C. Fields

Please join us in Washington, DC on April 15 - 18, 2018 as we begin our work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange priorities.


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

January 2018

Dear Grange Member,

Now that you've had time to build excitement for our 2018 Grange Month theme, "That's the Grange Way," it's time to place your orders for supplies and share your Grange pride with everyone! Order online now at The New Grange Store at Monroe Classic or download the order form and submit by MARCH 1.



This year, instead of a Grange Month Participation Form, we have created a Grange Health Survey and encourage every Grange to complete and return the survey as soon as possible. You will receive direct tips and suggestions based on your responses.


We'd also love to hear from each and every one of our members, and help us define the Grange in our 150th year! What is "The Grange Way?"


Finally, don't forget to get a few copies of Good Day! magazine to share with potential members at your Grange Month event!


The revised National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry Digest of Laws, 2018 Edition, that applies to all Granges of the Order, including Junior, Subordinate, State and Pomona's, is available for free download on the National Grange website. Click below to save or print the PDF.

You may also order a printed copy of the Digest through the Grange Supply Store for $20 plus shipping. It includes all 112 pages with cover hole punched and bound in a three-ring binder that allows you to quickly slip in updated pages as they become available each year.

There were few changes in 2018, mainly regarding language about trusts, now referred to as custodial accounts. Please do take time to familiarize yourself with the Digest.

Download Digital Version of Digest


• Get ready to share 'Grange Way' in 2018
• Get ready for Grange Month!
• Have you missed us? Special double issue to arrive in mail soon
• Youth Focus: Community Service Award
• Make plans to attend a region conference • Trump, Purdue make rural broadband a priority
• Program possibilities abound from Lecturer
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Grange Month Community Citizen and Public Service Awards
• 2018 Subordinate Grange Survey
• Proclaim Grange's great Legacy in 2018!
• Fundraiser: Grange Foundation challenge coins
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest
• 2018 National Grange Photography Showcase
• 2018 Evening of Excellence participants guidelines
• National Grange Building Fund pledge form
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation

View the Latest Newsletter


Looking Back and Looking Ahead

The nation's capital has been an interesting place throughout 2017 to say the least. Donald Trump shocked a large portion of the American public to become our 45th President. After his inauguration, it took the FBI an inordinate amount of time to run background checks on his cabinet and subcabinet appointees because of heightened security concerns. Some appointees still have not been confirmed.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue emerged as a popular and respected spokesman for agriculture and rural residents. The farmer, businessman and former governor now serving as Secretary appears to have the President's ear on USDA matters and he's very popular in the countryside. The President and Secretary are keeping campaign promises to reduce burdensome regulations and rein-in government overreach for producers and landowners.

President Trump has the most exercised thumbs in the history of the Presidency. His tweets have set a new precedent for social media, public policy, diplomacy and the presidency. He continues to keep Washington and the media off guard.

The Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House of Representatives during 2017. Yet healthcare reform went down in flames. The legislative process moved at a snail's pace all year. Tax reform eventually passed both houses along party lines and was signed by the President. The final tax package will require considerable time and expertise to analyze. The jury is still out on the new law's benefits. Several pieces of "must-do" legislation were kicked into January, including the FY'18 budget, debt ceiling and fate of the young immigrant "Dreamers" who were brought to the United States as children without documentation.

The National Grange had fun early in the year observing Washingtonians learn how to spell R-U-R-A-L again. The rural vote that pushed President Trump to victory suddenly captured the attention of writers, broadcasters, political pundits, public policy wonks and so-called "coastal elites". Farmers, ranchers, small businesses, rural residents and small town Americans suddenly were rediscovered.

It's interesting to note that numerous individuals and organizations claim to speak about rural America, speak into rural America, speak from rural America and supposedly speak for rural America. Yet the Grange is the primary organization speaking as rural America's farmer, rancher, rural resident and small town citizen.

Moving into 2018, Washington's political climate could deteriorate further as politicians focus on mid-term elections. Democrats believe they can recapture the House and are keeping their eyes on the Senate. Bipartisan compromise on the budget, federal deficit, welfare reform, infrastructure, immigration, healthcare and a farm bill could be illusive.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) will remain part of the farm bill under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. SNAP reforms will be keenly bipartisan and are expected to be relatively modest such as preventing duplicative SNAP benefits and taking a look at able-bodied adults without dependents on SNAP benefit rolls.

Senate Republicans now have only a one vote 51-49 majority after Democrat Doug Jones prevailed in the recent Alabama election. Not all senators of either party agree on every issue. Therefore, major pieces of legislation moving through the Senate in 2018 may require bipartisan negotiation to pass.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) will remain part of the farm bill under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. SNAP reforms will be keenly bipartisan and are expected to be relatively modest such as preventing duplicative SNAP benefits and taking a look at able-bodied adults without dependents on SNAP benefit rolls.

Government Funding, Budget, Shutdown Deadline and Disaster Aid

Congress ran home for Christmas without resolving spending battles and deadlines. That means lawmakers have to work diligently to avoid a government shutdown by January 19 when the short term continuing resolution expires. Democrats may not agree to a funding deal to keep the government running without a deal to protect young immigrants, the "Dreamers", from being exported beginning in March.

Lawmakers of both parties are also under pressure to increase the budget caps and prevent automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. A deal will be difficult to negotiate with both sides battling over defense vs. nondefense spending increases. If a deal can be reached, congressional appropriators can work on a package to fund the government through next September.

The Senate failed to take up a House-passed disaster relief bill for hurricane, flood and wildfire victims before Christmas. Battles between states for funding levels will have to be resolved by home-state Senators before aid can be approved.

Health Care

A surprisingly high number of people signed up under ObamaCare during the recent enrollment period. Health care professionals suggest that a core group of people wants health insurance even though it is a smaller and less functional program than originally hoped for. The zeal for repealing the law appears to be fading somewhat in Congress. Congress might actually take bipartisan steps to mend the law in 2018 starting with efforts to stabilize insurance markets.

Legislation authored by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and signed into law by president Trump will add skilled nursing facilities to the Rural Health Care Program. Skilled nursing facilities provide the same services that are traditionally housed at hospitals but are often remote from doctors and sophisticated laboratory and testing facilities. This new program addition will provide vital health care services in remote areas with little or no access to many types of doctors and specialists through high-capacity broadband connectivity.

Our nation's opioid epidemic shows no signs of abatement in the drug crisis facing Americans according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths in 2016 was 21 percent higher than 2015. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) doubled from 2015 to 2016.

As we reported last month, a Morning Consult study sponsored by the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union found that, • 74% of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by the opioid epidemic • 3 in 4 farmers say it is easy to access large amounts of opioids without a prescription • Only 1 in 3 rural adults say it would be easy to access drug addiction treatment

The AFBF and NFU have now launched a campaign to provide access to information and resources that can help struggling farm families and rural communities; see the website,

National Grange president Betsy Huber released a statement in December commending the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on their proposed Medicare Part D rule aimed at driving down out-of-pocket costs at pharmacies. The rule will make it harder for Pharmacy Benefit Managers to pocket rebates and discounts intended for consumers and help ensure these savings actually get to patients.


The National Grange is intrigued by a new possibility to close the rural broadband gap by using TV "white spaces" spectrum. These are vacant channels that use TV frequencies that are generally cheaper than fiber optic cable. Using unlicensed low band spectrum below 700 Mhz, signals can travel over hills and through buildings to deliver broadband connectivity. Of the 34 million Americans that lack a broadband connection, over 23 million live in rural areas.

Early in December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal a set of two-year-old regulations patterned after 1930's telephone utility anti-monopoly statutes. Known as "net neutrality", these rules required internet providers to treat web content equally. Under the FCC's new plan, broadband providers can tier internet speeds for websites based on user-traffic and charge extra for access to content such as Netflix and Facebook.

One of the National Grange's major policy priorities is to expand high speed connectivity to homes, schools, libraries, farms ranches, businesses, hospitals, clinics and first responders in rural and small town America. The reason rural residents don't have broadband now is because of the ole "pay for" rule; there just aren't enough of us to pay the capitol expense of getting us connected under a utility-based system like net neutrality. We may have to pay a little more for the broadband investment in rural areas that weren't financially viable before. For rural and small town America, the argument is all about getting connected, not how fast Snapchat or the latest games and music apps download.

Tax Reform

Legislation to reform the tax code is now history and becomes part of the law of the land. For tax payers, there appears to be some winners, some losers and a draw for others. The majority of new tax provisions will sunset (expire) at some point over the next ten years. If the economy stalls, the sunset provisions will likely kick in. If the economy improves, certain tax code provisions can be extended by Congress.

The agriculture community is generally pleased with the net results of the tax bill. Of course, not all agricultural producers and small business owners are affected the same way by tax law changes. The best advice is to consult your accountants and tax advisors.

Here are some key provisions of the new tax law for Grangers:

• Individual tax rates - Seven brackets, lower rates for most taxpayers (10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, 37%)
• Personal standard deduction - Doubled to $12,000 for single and $24,000 for married joint filers
• "Pass-through" business income tax treatment for farms, self-employed workers and small businesses - Deduction allowed for 20% of "pass-through income, up from 15% deduction for most tax payers, which will likely lower farmers' effective tax rate
• Estate or "death" taxes - Exemption doubled from $5.1 million to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for qualifying couples
• Child tax credit - Doubled to $2,000 credit for each child.
• Mortgage interest deduction - Threshold lowered from $1,000,000 to $750,000 for new mortgages
• State and local tax deduction - Deduction capped at $10,000
• Corporate tax rate - Lowered to 21% from 35%
• Cash accounting - Cash accounting is preserved for agriculture and small business
• Section 179 expense - Deduction raised from $500,000 to $1,000,000 indexed for inflation; allows a producer to expense rather than depreciate capital purchases of machinery, property (except structures) and software
• Net operating losses (NOL) - Allows two years carryback for farms
• Capital gains - Unchanged (up to 23.8%)

The National Grange neither supported nor opposed the tax bill as it moved through Congress. The priority for the Grange was to assure the best tax advantage possible for Grange members.

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