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.