URGENT: Calls Needed from Grangers to Support Votes by House and Senate on Highway Trust Fund

actionalertBACKGROUND

As you might have read, the Highway Trust Fund, federally funded by an 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax, starts running out of funds this August. The Highway Trust fund gas tax has not been raised in more than 20 years and the rate of revenue increase has fallen behind as vehicles have become more fuel efficient, creating a $16 billion shortfall.

Agriculture depends on a well maintained road infrastructure to get farm products to market and food distribution to consumers. For a while, it looked as though Congress would punt until the November/December lame duck session to tackle funding, essentially stopping nearly 30% of current active road projects by September. A bipartisan sense of urgency seems to be growing and both the Senate and House are moving bills through their respective committees led by Senate Finance Chairman Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Chairman Camp (R-MI).

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee yielded to Republican demands and have agree to provide $10 billion to keep the highway trust fund (HTF) solvent until into 2015.  This is in line with the timeframe of the House Ways and Means Committee.  This timeframe will allow time for longer term solutions for HTF to be considered by the new Congress and will remove some of the political partisan jockeying that is skewing policy issues the rest of this year. The House will likely have the legislation on the floor calendar sometime later this week. The Senate has not calendared it yet, but will likely move on it within the week to 10 days. That’s important because the bills have several other differences that must be resolved in a Senate-House Conference Committee, then the Conference Report goes to both chambers for final passage before HTF can be sent to the President to sign , who has indicated he has not hesitation in signing such legislation. There’s barely enough time for all these procedure before the five-week recess begins August 1.

GRANGE POLICY

“The National Grange strongly supports the continuation and reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). We support removing the HTF from the federal budget. We oppose any proposal that would change the concept of dedicating all federal motor fuel taxes to the HTF to be used for highway and highway related purposes. The National Grange supports the creation of a Federal Mass Transportation Trust Fund from user tax revenues separate from the HTF and highway user taxes. The National Grange opposes increasing the federal gasoline tax for purposes other than the HTF and reaffirms its position that all funds received from highway fuel taxes be used only for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. The federal and state governments should not use these funds to balance their budgets or fund other programs.  We oppose impounding HTF monies as a means of enforcement of federal laws.”

- Page 267, 2013 Journal of Proceedings

CALL TO ACTION (Please call immediately.  July 17 is too late!)

We need you to call your SENATORS and REPRESENTATIVES and urge them to push their leadership for floor action on the HTF short-term financing bill THIS WEEK.

Make sure to tell them it is important to maintain provisions in the bills to fund the HTF into 2015 and ASK THEM TO VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND BILL when it comes to the floor.

Remind them that you are calling as a Grange member, an organization whose more than 160,000 members support the continuation and reauthorization of the HTF and would like to stay updated on their action.

Unfair Phone Tax Opposed by North Alabama Patriots Tea Party, Community Action Association of Alabama, and Five National Groups

July 22, 2014

Governor Robert J. Bentley
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL, 36130
Dear Governor Bentley:

We, the undersigned national and state-based organizations represent Alabama citizens who oppose unfair taxation. We also speak for Alabama’s seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and low-income residents. Today, we have taken the extraordinary step of joining together to urge you to direct Alabama’s 911 Board to repeal its unfair and prohibitively expensive Emergency 911 (E-911) tax on participants in the federal Lifeline program.[1]

Alabama’s E-911 Board has gone where no other state has seen fit to go before: It has for no valid public policy reason imposed a punitive phone tax targeting the poorest of its poor residents who receive wireless Lifeline telephone service at no cost.[2] This move should be overruled by your office as soon as possible.

It is even more troubling that Alabama’s poorest residents are required to pay one of the highest, if not thehighest E-911 tax in the country.[3] Attorneys General in other states including South Carolina[4], Tennessee[5], and Rhode Island[6], have provided sound legal reasoning for why Lifeline participants in those states should be exempted from paying E-911 taxes. We believe that Lifeline customers who receive support, landline or wireless at no cost, should not be required to pay E-911 fees.

On August 1, 2014, the monthly E-911 tax imposed all telephone subscribers in Alabama – including participants in the federal Lifeline program– will increase from the current $1.60 to $1.75 per month. Members of the unelected and unaccountable state 911 Board[7] imposed this tax hike on Alabama citizens, at a rate that is far above typical E-911 taxes in comparable states. Indeed, the $1.75 monthly charge amounts to an exorbitant 19% percent tax on all Lifeline participants– residents in the state who are least able to afford such an outrageously high fee. Imposing the $1.75 E-911 tax on Lifeline subscribers tangibly reduces the full federal rate of $9.25 in Lifeline benefits that program participants are entitled to. The impact of the 19% E-911 tax on low-income Alabama Lifeline households is even more egregious for those participants who decide to purchase additional minutes and are subsequentlycharged a tax twice. Think about what this means in practical terms: A low-income person who used a Lifeline wireless phone to get or keep a job – possibly even to migrate off social services – is now being actively discouraged by the state of Alabama from doing so.

While we fully support the critical work of Alabama’s emergency first responders, funding for such services should not come on the backs of its neediest residents. Our diverse coalition of state and national organizations stands united in opposition to Alabama’s excessive and unfair E-911 tax on no cost Lifeline participants, and strongly advocate that no other state follow in the footsteps of such misguided policy. We urge you and leaders in Alabama’s state legislature to direct members of Alabama’s 911 Board to exempt Lifeline participants from one of the nation’s highest E-911 taxes. Doing so will protect Alabama households from this excessive taxation and its unjust burden on the state’s poorest residents.

Respectfully,

Alliance for Generational Equity
Consumer Action Partnership of Alabama
Community Action Partnership
Consumer Action
National Consumers League
The National Grange
North Alabama Patriots Tea Party

 [1] Created in 1985 by the Federal Communications Commission, the Lifeline program initially provided discounted landline service to qualifying low-income individuals. The program was extended to include wireless telecommunications services in 2005. Today, qualifying low-income Lifeline participants may choose to receive free monthly wireless telephone service. Additional information on Lifeline program available at: http://www.fcc.gov/lifeline

[2] See: http://al911board.com/rules/lifeline-service-collection-9-1-1-service-charge

[3] E-911 Fees vary by state and jurisdiction. Alabama’s current rate of $1.60, and August 1, 2014 rate of $1.75 surpasses that for any State wireless E-911 fee. For a full list of E-911 fees by state as of January 1, 2014, see: http://www.nena.org/?page=911RateByState

[4] State of South Carolina, Office of the Attorney General, letter to State Rep. Leon Joe Howard, October 10, 2011.

Available at: http://2hsvz0l74ah31vgcm16peuy12tz.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/howard-l-j-os-9334-10-10-11-E911-fees1.pdf

[5] State of Tennessee, Office of the Attorney General, Opinion No. 09-87, “Allocation of Emergency Communications Fund; “Safelink” Program, May 18, 2009. Available at:http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op87.pdf

[6] State of Rhode Island, Department of the Attorney General, letter to House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, October 12, 2012. Available at:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxeciyBfSNSATVh3dnNzbktJNEZrQUlLRlhIeFBvWTRjSkcw/edit

[7] See: http://al911board.com/article/9-1-1-Rate-Change-effective-August-1-2014

Governor Urged to Overrule One of the Highest Wireless E-911 Phone Tax in U.S.; Conservative and Consumer Groups Unite to Warn of Danger of “Unaccountable” State Board’s Actions.

MONTGOMERY, AL. – July 22, 2014 – A diverse group of seven in-state and national organizations – including the Community Action Association of Alabama and the North Alabama Patriots Tea Party – today urged Governor Robert Bentley to overrule the “unelected and unaccountable” Alabama 911 Board’s imposition of what appears to be among the worst phone taxes of its kind in the nation. A major concern: For the first time, the increased E-911 phone tax targets the poorest of Alabama’s poor participating in the federal wireless Lifeline program.

The two Alabama groups were joined by the Alliance for Generational Equity, Consumer Action, Community Action Partnership, National Consumers League, and The National Grange. The joint letter is available online at http://bit.ly/ALphonetax.

Set to go into effect on August 1, 2014, the Alabama 911 Board hiked the monthly E-911 tax imposed on telephone subscribers in Alabama from the current $1.60 to $1.75 per month — one of the highest wireless E-911 taxes of any state. For the first time, the state’s E-911 charge will be extended to federal ‘no-charge’ Lifeline Wireless program participants, amounting to an exorbitant 19 percent tax on the very Alabama residents who, by definition, are least able to afford it. In less than a year, the Alabama 911 Board, which is appointed by Governor Bentley, has increased the E-911 tax by an astounding 150 percent. By comparison, Florida Governor Rick Scott just signed into law a reduction in the E-911 tax rate from $.50 to $.40 per month.

In the letter, the groups write: “We … oppose unfair taxation [and also] speak for Alabama’s seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and low-income residents. Today, we have taken the extraordinary step of joining together to urge you to direct Alabama’s 911 Board to repeal its unfair and prohibitively expensive Emergency 911 (E-911) tax on participants in the federal ‘no-charge” wireless Lifeline program. Alabama’s E-911 Board has gone where no other state has seen fit to go before: It has for no valid public policy reason imposed a punitive phone tax targeting the poorest of its poor residents who receive wireless Lifeline telephone service at no cost. This move should be overruled by your office as soon as possible … Think about what this means in practical terms: A low-income person who used a Lifeline wireless phone to get or keep a job – possibly even to migrate off social services – is now being actively discouraged by the state of Alabama from doing so.”

Other highlights of the letter include the following:

“It is even more troubling that Alabama’s poorest residents are required to pay one of the highest wireless E-911 taxes in the country. We believe that Lifeline customers who receive support, landline or wireless at no cost, should not be required to pay E-911 fees.”

“While we fully support the critical work of Alabama’s emergency first responders, funding for such services should not come on the backs of its neediest residents. Our diverse coalition of state and national organizations stands united in opposition to Alabama’s excessive and unfair E-911 tax on no cost Lifeline participants, and strongly advocate that no other state follow in the footsteps of such misguided policy. We urge you and leaders in Alabama’s state legislature to direct members of Alabama’s 911 Board not to impose the nation’s highest wireless E-911 tax on federal wireless Lifeline benefits. This will protect Alabama households from excessive taxation and remove an unjust burden on the state’s poorest residents.”

MEDIA CONTACTS: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or wharwood@hastingsgroup.com.

Chartered California State Grange reorganized, officers installed

IMG_20140712_114305722

Officers of the newly reorganized chartered California State Grange sit in front of the group of more than 30 members who were at Orangevale Grange Hall on Saturday for the reorganizational meeting.

ORANGEVALE, Calif. (July 12, 2014) – On Saturday, more than 30 members from 10 of the 24 eligible Granges in California came together at the Orangevale Grange Hall to complete the process of reorganization and witness the installation of officers for the chartered California State Grange.

National Grange President Ed Luttrell was the presiding officer, installing the new chartered California State Grange President Ed Komski, of Fallbrook, Calif., as well as several other officers.

“We are so happy to have the members of these Granges fully integrated with our national organization again,” Luttrell said after the day’s activities were complete.

Komski said the members gathered for the reorganizational meeting cannot wait to get back to work, serving their hometowns in true Grange fashion.

“These folks are Grangers, have always been Grangers, and just want to work within the bonds of fraternal fellowship to meet the needs of their communities, educate one another and advocate at the local and state level important issues of the day,” Komski said.

The new State Grange was reorganized several months after leaders of the former California State Grange notified the National Grange Executive Board that they had voted to disaffiliate from the national organization. This disaffiliation has caused great confusion on the part of many of our members in local Granges in California and the general public.

“So it was decided a new, officially-chartered State Grange in California needed to be organized to take the former Grange’s place,” Komski said.

“Every Grange member and every Grange from the State of California is welcome to join this  newly reorganized California State Grange,” Luttrell said.

148th Annual Grange Session

Print Please join us for the 148th Annual Convention of the National Grange! The Midwest Region states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin invite everyone to attend the wonderful activities they have planned. Come join your Grange friends from across the nation at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio November 11th through the 15th for a ”Midwest Safari”.

Hotel Information | Registration Information |
Seventh Degree | Convention Schedule | Convention Tours

National Grange President’s July Message

July is upon us and we have a lot to be thankful for as Americans. As the Grange, we should celebrate America and its birthday! We are also closing in on our 150th anniversary. It’s amazing what we have accomplished as an organization during this time. Try and think of some ways that your Grange can add to our legacy.

“For the Common Good: Some Achievements of Subordinate Granges in the National Grange Community Service Contest” e-book now exclusively available to Amazon Kindle Store

ForTheCommonGoodImageWASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, June 30, the National Grange released its newest e-book, “For the Common Good: Some Achievements of Subordinate Granges in the National Grange Community Service Contest,” as a Kindle download available through Amazon’s Kindle Store.

“The Grange was built around improving and bettering one’s community, “ National Grange President Ed Luttrell said upon the release of For the Common Good. “The community service projects that many of our past Granges accomplished should give our current members a great sense of pride and motivate them to do more for the places they call home.”

The National Grange has signed a 90-day exclusivity deal for ““For the Common Good: Some Achievements of Subordinate Granges in the National Grange Community Service Contest” with Amazon and the Amazon Kindle Store. The e-book will be added to the Barnes and Noble Nook Store after the exclusivity deal expires.

This is the fourteenth e-book the National Grange has released. Previous releases include “Mentor in the Grange,” “Semi-Centennial History of the Patrons of Husbandry,” “Origin and Progress of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry in the United States,” “Agriculture and Progress: The Farmers Great Awakening,” “The Granger Movement in New England,” “Friend of the Farmer,” “Legal and Economic Influence of the Grange,” “Notes and Quotes,” “Proud Heritage,” “First Century of Service,” “People, Pride and Progress,” “The Early Granges of New York State: The First 10 Years” and the “2014 National Grange Digest of Laws.”

“These books tell a very interesting history of the American people, spirit and culture,” Luttrell said.

“For the Common Good: Some Achievements of Subordinate Granges in the National Grange Community Service Contest” is available as an e-book for $0.99. BUY IT NOW.

Established in 1867, The National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation’s leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 160,000 members across the United States.

National Grange presents Maryland woman with National Ag Advocate of the Year Award

hoto: Huber (right) presents award to Wilcom with George Mayo (left), Maryland Ag in the Classroom Executive Director

Photo: Huber (right) presents award to Wilcom with George Mayo (left), Maryland Ag in the Classroom Executive Director

HERSHEY, Pa. (June 25, 2014) – During the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference this morning at the Hershey Lodge, National Grange Board of Directors Chairwoman Betsy Huber presented the annual National Ag Advocate of the Year Award to Evelyn Wilcom of Frederick, Md.

Wilcom, who was not raised in a rural environment, became a champion of agriculture and ag education after marrying and moving to a dairy farm where she and her husband, Mike, raised their three sons.

Wilcom is a retired nurse and has spent countless hours volunteering for organizations that introduce the general public and students to agriculture at shopping centers, fairs, festivals and in schools.

 She worked to get children’s books about agriculture into Maryland schools, created and fundraised for Frederick’s “City Streets, Country Roads” fair, and assisted with teacher training for agriculture in the classroom. She is past chair of both the Frederick County and Maryland Farm Bureau Women’s Committees, past board member of the Frederick County Farm Bureau, and current chair of its Education Committee. She also serves as chair of the Elementary Education Committee for the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation. She was also recently recognized for her work with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maryland Farm Bureau.

Huber, during her remarks at a breakfast honoring Wilcom, said education is a key priority of the Grange.

PhotoL Evelyn Wilcom

PhotoL Evelyn Wilcom

“Think of rural America in the 1860s. Farm families were spread over the wide open spaces, with little or no opportunity for educational advancement or even social interaction,” Huber said. “The Grange founders recognized this need and created the Grange to serve as the social center of rural communities and source of information about happenings in the outside world. The Grange also was a forum for discussions and learning about scientific advancements and new farming methods.”

Huber said this focus on education remains a cornerstone of the organization, introducing those who do not come from farms to agriculture in many ways. The National Ag Advocate Award, she said, allows the Grange to recognized individuals like Wilcom, who inspire children and adults alike and bring to them information and awareness about agriculture.

Huber said she was especially proud to present the award to a fellow Grange member. Wilcom is a member of New Market Grange #362, New Market, Md.

“She is a model for our members who have dedicated themselves to our educational principles,” Huber said after she learned Wilcom would be the award recipient. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to present her with this very fitting tribute.”

# # #

Established in 1867, The National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation’s leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 160,000 members across the United States. For more information on the National Grange, visit our website at www.nationalgrange.org.

National Grange President’s June Message

National Grange President Ed Luttrell welcomes you to the month of June! Did you know that June is National Dairy Month? No? Well it is. It’s also a great time for your Grange to get ready for the new membership year in July. We want to see YOUR GRANGE on the Grange honor roll!

Advocate for Full Funding For MAP & FMD

BACKGROUND

actionalertThank you for your efforts to contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote in favor of funding two of USDA’s most important initiatives, the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Market Access Program (MAP).  MAP was funded under the most recent Farm Bill at $200 M per year. FMD was funded under the recent Farm Bill at $34.5 M per year. Unfortunately, both are subject to a 7% reduction by the sequester (= ~185 M and =~28 M respectively) and Congress has allowed funds to be spent for administrative costs of the program (such as salaries of employees), not just the marketing of ag products and market development itself.

These initiatives create partnerships between USDA and the private sector to gain access into foreign countries for American farm products and to promote these products to new consumers abroad.  Most of these are value-added customer goods such as dairy, beef, pork, poultry, fresh produce and food service.   MAP and FMD have been major factors in America’s trade success story in recent years and agricultural exports are important to our economy. Continued support of these programs in the face of stiffer competition to develop markets in fast-growing nations by many member countries of the EU – who spent $700 M in public funds on export promotion for agri-food products in 2011 compared to our $256 M – is vitally important.

It is possible that Rep. Chabot (R-OH) may offer an amendment that would reduce funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $50 million.On Tuesday, June 17 the House will return to debating and voting on amendments to the FY ’15 agriculture appropriations bill which funds MAP and FMD for the next fiscal year Oc. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015.

 

GRANGE POLICY

“The National Grange Supports integrating and coordinating existing stat and federal governments’ export marketing programs, such as the Market Access Program and Market Promotion Program, and other similar programs that were designed to develop and expand foreign markets for U.S. farm products.” (National Grange Policy, 2012 Journal of Proceedings, page 206)


CALL TO ACTION (URGENT – Deadline Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. EST)

Call your Representative in Washington. (FIND THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION) Tell him/her foreign markets are important to American agriculture.  Ask your Representative to VOTE

1) FOR the foreign market funding levels in the bill and
2) AGAINST any amendments which would reduce foreign market funding.


SUGGESTED TALKING POINT FOR GRANGERS TO CONGRESS

“Agriculture has had a continuous positive trade surplus for more than FIVE DECADES, the only industry to make such a claim,  That surplus means adding money to the American economy, not just the 1% of our population who are growers or 16% of Americans who live in rural areas.

“For every $1 spent by the government for these programs, it’s been shown that there is an average increase of $35 in exports.  In fact, for the wheat sector alone there is a $1:$115 ratio of dollars spent using MAP or FMD to dollars returned to the U.S. economy.  That’s a huge impact for programs that we know to be well-run and administered and we hope both programs and all others under the Foreign Agricultural Service that do similar things for our ag producers and local communities can be fully funded.”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Looking just at MAP, we can see many areas positively impacted. For information specific to FMD, please contact Amanda Leigh Brozana at abrozana@nationalgrange.org.

MAP HELPS BOOST U.S. AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

  • The export forecast for FY 14 is estimated to be approximately $142.6 billion, which would surpass by $1.7 billion the all-time record level of $140.9 billion achieved in FY 13. Since the program was created in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by nearly 500 percent. (Source USDA)
  • Agriculture’s trade surplus was $32.4 billion in FY 12, $37.1 billion in FY 13 and is forecast to be $32.6 billion for FY 14. (Source USDA) Agriculture is still one of the few sectors of the American economy to enjoy a trade surplus, and without it the overall U.S. trade deficit would be even worse.
  • An updated study of MAP and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program done by IHS Global Insight showed that the increase in market development spending by government and industry during the 2002-09 period through these programs considerably increased U.S. export market share and increased the annual value of U.S. agricultural exports by $6.1 billion. Multiyear impact of the increased market development spending is equal to $35 in agricultural export gains for every additional $1 expended, a 35 to 1 return on investment. (Source: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA’s International Market Development Programs, IHS Global Insight (USA), Inc., March 2010).
  • World trade growth is expected to increase in 2014, and a lower dollar (compared to 2000-10) and lower production costs will likely keep U.S. agricultural products competitively priced. This reinforces the need for valuable programs, such as MAP, that help create, expand, and maintain international markets for U.S. agricultural products.

MAP PROTECTS AMERICAN JOBS AND INCREASES FARM INCOME

  • Serves as a “BUY AMERICAN” program by promoting only American-grown and produced commodities.
  • Given U.S. agricultural exports are forecast to be $142.6 billion in FY 14, about 1 million Americans will have jobs that depend on these exports, thanks in part to MAP and related programs that have helped boost U.S. agricultural exports. (Source USDA)
  • An updated USDA-commissioned study of MAP and FMD shows that over the 2002-09 period export gains associated with the programs increased the average annual level of U.S. farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and net cash farm income by $1.5 billion. The study also shows that U.S. domestic farm support payments were reduced by roughly $54 million annually due to higher prices from increased demand abroad, thus reducing the net cost of the programs. (Source: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA’s International Market Development Programs, IHS Global Insight (USA), Inc., March 2010).

MAP HELPS COUNTER SUBSIDIZED FOREIGN COMPETITION

  • U.S. farmers and ranchers are competing in a very active international agri-food trade environment with many countries that invest significant public and private funds according to a major study* completed last year on behalf of several U.S. agri-food export market development organizations. (Source: An Analysis of Competitor Countries’ Market Development Programs, Agralytica Consulting, June 2013)
  • The study found that together in 2011, 12 countries and the EU central government alone spent an estimated $1.8 billion, including $700 million in public funds and $1.1 billion in private funds, on export promotion for agri-food products. For comparison, in 2011, the total U.S. export promotion public expenditure was $256 million. Compared to agricultural production value, the U.S. public spending on export market development is among the lowest relative to these 12 nations.
  • Eliminating or reducing funding for MAP in the face of continued highly subsidized international competition would put American farmers and workers at a substantial competitive disadvantage.
  • Market development, including programs such as MAP, is not expected to be subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) disciplines. Reducing our investments in market promotion while our competitors continue to increase theirs will put our producers at a decided disadvantage in competing for international sales.

MAP ILLUSTRATES SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

  • MAP is administered on a reimbursable cost-share basis, specifically targeting small businesses, farmer cooperatives, and non-profit trade organizations. While government is an important partner in this effort, industry contributions are now estimated to represent over 60% of total annual spending on market development and promotion, up from roughly 45% in 1996 and less than 30% in 1991, which demonstrates industry commitment to the effort (Source USDA). Without the incentive of MAP funding through this important cost-share program, it is highly unlikely that private funds could be attracted to form a strategic and coordinated U.S. agricultural export promotion effort.

First artifacts of ‘Justi Collection’ donated, to be digitized

Mary and Ed1WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 13 was a special day at the National Grange office when daughter of first Grange Youth Director, Wib Justi, met with National President Ed Luttrell to present just a portion her father’s collection of artifacts for the National Grange.

Mary Justi Sheppard, of Chesapeake Bay, Va., delivered framed photos, scrapbooks, audio recordings, pins and other memorabilia along with boxes of Wib’s personal collection to the headquarters.

“These are things that he had begun marking and told my mother [June Justi] were specifically to come to National Grange,” Sheppard said Friday as she opened a box to show Luttrell.

EdpointsMarylooks1Luttrell said the addition of the Justi materials were incredible.

“These boxes tell an amazing story of the organization and the things our youth were able to accomplish,” Luttrell said. “And they’re just the start of what Mary expects to find as part of her father’s well-kept collection.”

Luttrell said much of the materials would be digitized in the coming months and years and would be stored as the Justi Collection at the National Grange building.

“Historians will look through this material and get a much better sense of the great things Grangers took part in and initiated thanks to Wib’s dedication to preserving this history,” Luttrell said.

As materials are digitized and released, Luttrell and Sheppard said they hoped those who supported continuation of youth programs in the Grange would take time to review materials and donate to the Youth Fund through the National Grange Foundation, a 501(c)3, tax-deductible charity, that supports things like leadership training and youth officer participation at National Session.

pgfromwesticreations“He would just be over the moon with knowing his collection could help today’s Grange Youth,” Sheppard said. “He’d be delighted.”