Given the National Grange website is still a “work in progress,” we are making the Patrons Chain Newsletters issued during National Convention Available on the Maine State Grange Website. These newsletters include some future plans, news about the status of Grange Radio, etc. and we encourage members to give them all a read! Apparently there was no “Day 1” issue — or I missed it!
HERNDON, VA – During the open day of the 150th Annual National Grange session, breakfast speaker Rep. Glenn (GT) Thompson (PA-5) told the audience that today in a nation divided, the Grange is more relevant than ever.
“Given what we’re experiencing right now, after the election that we just completed, the National Grange is as relevant today as what it was 150 years ago,” Thompson said to the about 140 attendees.
Thompson noted the Grange’s role in reconciliation between individuals of the nation in its early years, founding just after the Civil War.
“Just like the founding of this organization, your timing is such that it is time for healing in our land and I think the Grange can be a very big part of that.”
Thompson spoke to the oldest agricultural organization in the nation about some priorities of the next Farm Bill, for which work has already begun, but focused greatly on the complex relationship between world trade, politics, and agriculture.
While he began with a look at the current struggle of dairy farmers due to increasing milk competition in our trade markets because of Russia’s ban of European Union products, he quickly discussed the intersection of national security and agriculture.
“If you don’t think that agriculture is a complicated issue, well it can get caught up in the geopolitics of our time,” Thompson said. “Without food security and energy security you have infant mortality, you have illiteracy … you have war, you have violence.”
“For our country to ever be at a point to be dependent on another country for our food, is completely unacceptable,” Thompson said.
For legislators, he said the priority must be to “make sure we are doing the right thing by those who dedicate their lives to feeding us, providing the fiber for our cloths, the wood materials that build our homes and they provide us energy because so much of America’s energy comes off of our rural land.”
“The fact is without a robust rural America, people in the cities will wake up in the cold, in the dark and hungry, and so we have really a moral obligation to make sure we do our best to fulfill the focus and mission of the National Grange,” Thompson said.
Maine State Grange Communications Director Walter Boomsma’s monthly column “Exploring Traditions…” was featured in the Patrons Chain 150th Annual National Grange Convention Edition on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. This particular column (October, 2016) emphasized the importance of “not getting caught in the trap of just going through the motions no matter how many times we’ve done something.”
Additional articles covered activities and information around National Convention and National Grange news.
View the Patrons Chain November 15 Edition.
View the original column.
Laying of the Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown — additional videos from National Conference may be viewed on the National Grange Facebook Page.
There is much to wish for… and much to be thankful for this year. Visit The Thanksgiving Reader Website — Grangers love readings and this will give you everything you need to make your holiday meal a little more special this year. Everything you need is there and it’s all free… it will only take a few minutes. (You’ll need to do some printing, so do this before dinner!) Not to be a spoiler, but I found the last suggested question worthy of serious consideration. “Have you lived a life that deserves gratitude from others?”
by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director
Apparently, the National Grange Website is undergoing a “makeover.” This seems to be resulting in a number of broken links on the Maine State Grange Website. One that I’ve noticed in particular is that the “Lecturer’s Program in a Box” link only shows the guidelines for submitting programs and does not give access to the programs themselves. I will be removing these broken links as time permits. I assume that in time access to missing information will be restored. Sorry for any inconvenience. Please understand this is outside the control of the Maine State Grange Website.
Session opened at 8:30 this morning. Normally on even-numbered years the only officers to elect are two members of the Executive Committee. Yesterday Amanda Brozana stepped down from being National Lecturer so someone needed to be elected to fulfill the current term. Duane Scott of WI and Leroy Watson of Potomac Grange #1 were elected to the Exec. Committee. Sister Chris Hamp from WA was elected Lecturer. Many of you know Sister Chris as she and her husband Duane were our National Reps a few years ago. That left the Lady Assistant Steward’s office vacant. Brenda Rouselle from VT was elected Lady Assistant Steward for the remainder of the term. While the election was taking place, members of the National Grange staff gave their verbal reports to the delegates and members.
In the afternoon several of the committees presented resolutions. The former delegates were introduced and the National Chaplain presented an impressive Memorial Service. Those receiving tributes in the Memorial Service included Nancy Clark, past delegate from Maine.
In the evening the Assembly of Demeter met for their annual meeting. There are still several resolutions to go over, policy statements to adopt and adoption of all the happenings of this year’s session.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more updates.
We started the day with the Agricultural breakfast and speakers Val Dolcini, Administrator, Farm Service Agency and Michael Scuse, Acting Deputy Secretary, USDA. Both were very informative. The session opened at 10:00 and many of the committees started reporting on their assigned resolutions. At lunch, we had another speaker on Branding. Clay Snyder, Sr. Director, Brand Management, Hilton Hotels. He spoke regarding our brand, especially for our sesquicentennial year. Session reconvened at 2:00.
As the day rolled along several Grangers from Maine arrived. I may miss someone but I do believe we have at least 13 of our members here now. When session reconvened at 7:00 and they did a roll call of states pretty sure Maine was the loudest. They wanted noise so we gave them noise. Tonight’s speaker was USPS Postmaster General Megan Brennan. When you hear the numbers it puts into perspective how the USP really works. As part of her speech Megan presented the National Master, Betsy Huber with an enlarged, mounted copy of the stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Grange. They also passed out pins the size of the original stamp.
Gary Braumbraugh, Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee spoke regarding inductees. The Hall of Fame is virtual and currently four people are inducted each year. The first year of inductees was last year: Caroline Hall, Oliver Hudson Kelley, Francis McDowell and William Saunders. Brother Braumbraugh read a brief bio on each of this year’s four inductees: Aaron B. Grosh, William M. Ireland, John Thompson and John Trimble. Members are encouraged to submit inductees via the National Grange web page. If a person is selected by the committee they will respond to you asking for more information on why.
Good night from Herndon, VA.
This morning we had the Legislative breakfast. Guest speaker was Rep. Glenn Thompson of PA. Rep. Thompson spoke on many issues currently in front of Congress or will be coming up in the very near future. He represents the largest in area and most rural district in PA.
In the morning I attended 2 workshops, one on Social Media Strategies that Work and one on Digital Engagement, both were very informative.
At 2:00 the 150th session of the National Grange was opened in the Seventh Degree immediately following an entrance march by the National Officers. The Grange was lowered to the fourth degree and National Master/President Betsy Huber gave both her internal and external addresses. The external address is available for streaming from the National Grange Facebook page. Sections have been assigned to the different committees and when permitted the results and her internal address will be released to the press. Session closed at 4:30 for the day.
More to come from your roving reporter tomorrow.
Webmaster’s Note: In support of Resolution #11 requiring Maine State Grange to enact a strategy including policy, education, and resource support of agriculture, the following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Grangers are invited to submit articles and information for consideration.
The State’s Drought Task Force (DTF) met recently for the fourth time in as many months to reassess conditions related to the ongoing drought in Maine. Although recent rain has improved surface water levels across much of the State, ground water levels remain low.
Ground water levels are expected to take longer to recover, with seven sites still showing the lowest levels on record.
Recent drought monitoring data show extreme drought status eliminated and severe drought status shrinking across Maine. Most of the State is now considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought status. Regionally, extreme drought is reported mostly in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
“We continue to encourage those experiencing dry wells to call 2-1-1 or go to 211maine.org to report their issues,” said Tom Redstone, Maine Emergency Management Agency Natural Hazards Planner. “This helps us capture the data to determine how widespread the problem is, as well as the areas that continue to be affected.”
The drought continues to cause a variety of problems across the State, including a ten percent reduction in hydropower production and a back-log of those needing new wells due to a lack of available well drillers.
Citizens are urged to avoid filling wells with foreign water due to the dangers of introducing bacteria and pathogens into the well or causing corrosion or lead problems. In addition, imported water could leach out in a matter of days, depending on the construction of the well. Instead, alternatives were suggested, including lowering the pump, deepening the well, or installing a large storage tank for use during the drought. Citizens continue to report dry wells, and those who have seen recovery should continue to use water wisely, as the recovery may be temporary. Some every day conservation tips include:
- shorter showers;
- not running water while brushing teeth or shaving;
- fixing leaky sinks and toilets;
- running full loads of laundry and dishes;
- not peeling vegetables under running water; and
- using a bucket when washing cars rather than running a hose.
More information on water conservation is available at Maineprepares.com. Resources are posted at Maineprepares.com and will be updated as more become available. More resources may become available as conditions worsen, so reporting is very important.
The Task Force will continue to monitor the situation and plans to meet again in December. Reports are available online here or can be obtained from MEMA by calling (207) 624-4400.