2015 National Grange Legislative Fly-In

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Please join us for the

NATIONAL GRANGE LEGISLATIVE FLY-IN

May 17-20, 2015
Washington, D.C.

Come to Washington and help us promote the policy that was initiated by your local Grange offices back home.The National Grange Building downtown will be headquarters for meetings, briefings, networking and social time.

register


Legislative Fly-In Schedule

Sunday, May 17, 2015 – Arrive in Washington, D.C.

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Hotel check-in
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Dutch treat dinner together downtown near the National Grange Building
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Mix and mingle dessert social at the Grange Building, 1616 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006


Monday, May 18, 2015 – Briefings and Speakers – Grange Building

8:30 AM Coffee and muffins at the Grange
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM Dive into the issues, strategies, politics and discussions important to Grangers; guest speakers
Evening Dinner on your own


Tuesday, May 19, 2015 – Capitol Hill

All day Individual appointments with Representatives, Senators and Hill staff
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM Feedback and discussion session with snacks at the Grange Building
Evening Dinner on your own


Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Wrap up – Grange Building

8:30 AM Coffee and muffins at the Grange
9:30 PM – 3:00 PM Feedback, issues discussions, take-away from Fly-In
3:00 PM – Explore Washington
Return home


Travel and Registration

All travel and hotel costs will be personal expense for Fly-In attendees. Please make your own travel plans and book your hotel stay directly. If you plan to attend the Fly-In, please contact Stephanie Tiller by email [email protected], by phone 202-628-3507 x 113 to give her your arrival and departure details. Be sure to let us know of any dietary restrictions or other special needs during your stay in Washington. You can also REGISTER ONLINE NOW!

Housing

Our hotel is the Comfort Inn, 1587 Spring Hill Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182, phone 703-448-8020. Our group rate is $91.99 + 12% sales tax per night. The cut-off date to make a reservation is April 16, 2015. All rooms have one queen bed. The Comfort Inn is located just northwest of the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Vienna, VA. The hotel provides free parking and is just a block from the Metro’s Silver Line for travel to downtown Washington. The hotel also provides a complimentary full breakfast Monday- Friday 6:30am – 9:30am and 7:00am-10:00am on Saturday and Sunday. ** Please note the hotel is sold out over these dates. Please be sure to make your reservations by the cut-off date to ensure you have a room.

Metro Transit System

The Washington area Metro subway system operates the Silver Line directly between the Tysons Corner Spring Hill Station, one block from the hotel, and Washington’s Farragut West Station, just one block north of the Grange Building at 1616 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. Reagan National Airport travelers can take the Blue Line to the Rosslyn Station and change to the Silver Line. If you are running late, continue on the Blue Line to the Farragut West Station and to the National Grange Building.

Recommended Dress

We recommend business casual for Sunday and Monday. Business attire (coat and tie) would be best on Tuesday. Wednesday is comfort of your choice.

Washington at Its Finest

May is a beautiful time in our nation’s capital. Take some extra time to enjoy the flowers, monuments, and museums. The Grange building is located in the heart of Washington so you can use it as your sightseeing base.

National Youth Ambassadors Celebrate National Ag Day

youth_ambassadorWASHINGTON – The nation’s capital turned green for agriculture on March 18 for National Ag Day. National Grange Youth Ambassadors Cassidy Cheddar of Elizabethtown, Pa. and Derek Snyder of Boiling Springs, Pa. joined more than 100 college students to deliver a message for agriculture to their legislators.

“There is a growing divide between the farm and the consumer. And, for most high school students, unless they are enrolled in a vocational agricultural program, their exposure to farming practices is limited,” said Cheddar. She is a senior studying agricultural education at Penn State with plans to teach after graduation.

Ag Day is another way to raise awareness to the value of agriculture. An Elizabethtown Area Grange #2076 member, Cheddar has organized several agriculture awareness programs through her local Grange including a June Dairy Month coloring contest and past local Ag Day programs.

This year’s celebration theme selected by the Agriculture Council of America is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.”

In addition to visiting with their congressmen and senators, Cheddar and Snyder participated in the Ag Day Mix and Mingle Luncheon at the capitol. The luncheon was emceed by agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson and featured the Outstanding Young Farmer honorees and members of Congress.

“Even if you do not farm, agriculture is important,” Snyder said. “He is a freshman at Penn State University, majoring in business and economics. He is a member of Valley Grange #1360. Food insecurity is a community service priority at his home Grange. They have organized food drives for local food banks. This past January, his Grange donated money for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s “Fill a Glass of Hope” milk drive. The funds were used to provide fresh milk to needy families. “I am always touched how something as simple as the gift of milk can have such a profound impact to those in need,” Snyder said.

Cheddar and Snyder met with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa. 16), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa. 11) and senate staff for Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). At the Mix and Mingle event, the ambassadors visited with House Agriculture Committee chair Rep. K. Michael Conaway of Texas.

National Ag Day was created to generate awareness to food and fiber production and the role agriculture plays in providing a safe, affordable food supply.

National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller and National Grange Youth Director Charlene Shupp Espenshade joined the ambassadors for their visits to Capitol Hill and National Ag Day activities.

The National Grange’s youth department encourages its youth and young adults to explore different aspects of agriculture. The William Saunders Agricultural Achievement Award program asks Grangers to explore and participate in an agricultural experience. This year, the National Grange formed a partnership with the National Junior Horticultural Association to raise awareness to the horticulture industry. The Apathy Not Allowed program is a grassroots advocacy program. More information about the Grange Youth program is available at www.nationalgrangeyouth.org.

By Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
National Grange Youth Development Director

National Grange President’s March 2015 Message

In this March message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell discusses the upcoming Grange Month in April with a focus on using the event to invite new Grange members into your local Grange.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

Close caption for this and other videos can be displayed by clicking on the closed caption icon in the bottom of the video window. (see below)

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Grange Month 2015

2015 Grange Month FB Banner

April 2015 is going to be a great month to celebrate the Grange. I hope that each member is getting excited about how we can share our great organization with people in our community.

 

You might hold an open house or a reception for your community; invite friends and acquaintances to a breakfast, tea or dinner. Perhaps your Grange will carry out a special project or recognize outstanding achievement to commemorate Grange month.

 

Our organization is nearing 150 years of sharing American Values while never forgetting our Hometown Roots. This year would be a wonderful opportunity to begin looking forward to this historic milestone by reflecting on the ways our Order has been a positive impact in your community.

 

Across our nation, Grange hands are joined for education, social connection, business that benefits our members, legislative advocacy, and service to others. We believe each must learn and grow as individuals, become connected with others through the Grange in order to provide a true grassroots voice to aid our legislators and serve others through cooperation and caring.

 

Note: There will not be a physical Grange Month mailing this year but material will be available for you to download. Please visit and log into the National Grange member site for downloads.

Medicare Part D Rebates

The National  Grange has joined a large number of patient health and elderly care organizations on a letter to the U.S Congress opposing proposals to weaken programs for seniors and persons with disabilities.  One of these proposals would mandate rebates on Medicare’s Part D drug program.  But these are not rebates to patients as one might assume.  This money would be treated as a tax paid by drug manufacturers direct to the Federal Government with no resulting new drug development or lower patient prescription costs.  Click here to read Medicare Part D letter to Congress

Postal Service Cuts Causes Rural Concerns

Despite three cautionary reports by the Postal Regulatory Commission, The Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, and an internal management report, the U.S. Postal Service has moved ahead to reduce its service standards for First-Class Mail.  These new policies will create a two-tier network with service to rural areas and small towns downgraded much more than large urban areas.  Several state and local Granges are objecting to the Postmaster General with copies to their Senators and Representatives.  Click here to read Op-Ed by Commissioner Ruth Y. Goldway

National Grange President’s February 2015 Message

In this February message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell touches on the importance of President’s Day, Grange advocacy, the 2015 Master’s Conference, and local Grange outreach.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

Close caption for this and other videos can be displayed by clicking on the closed caption icon in the bottom of the video window. (see below)

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National Grange President’s January 2015 Message

Happy New Year from everyone at the National Grange! The new year is upon us and National Grange President Ed Luttrell hopes that you take the time to reflect on the things your Grange wants to accomplish in the coming year.

Close caption for this and other videos can be displayed by clicking on the closed caption icon in the bottom of the video window. (see below)

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Seasons Greetings from the National Grange

holiday_greetingAs 2014 comes to an end, we reflect on the past year and turn to those of you who have helped us accomplish various achievements.   We value your support and partnership, and we sincerely thank you.   We look forward to what lies ahead in the coming year and anticipate your continued support and dedication.

The National Grange would like to wish you a happy holiday season and a new year filled with peace and prosperity.­­­

USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to Dec. 19

Dairy producers urged to act now to protect their businesses against unpredictable market swings, take advantage of increased protections offered in first year of program

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2014 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the application deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until Dec. 19, 2014.  The program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.

“The 2014 Farm Bill created these safety net programs to provide safeguards against the uncertainty of weather and markets, but this safety net is not automatic. Producers must visit their local Farm Service Agency office to enroll before December 19,” said Vilsack. “Despite the best forecasts, weather and markets can change, so a modest investment today can protect against unexpected losses tomorrow.”

“For just $100, a farmer can cover 90 percent of production at $4 margin swings, and with affordable incremental premiums, dairy farmers can cover up to $8 margin swings,” said Vilsack. “Those who apply this year will receive a slight increase in production protection that will not be available in the future. Farmers who do not sign up for the Margin Protection Program for 2015 will forfeit the 1 percent base production increase. For a 400 cow operation, this would equate to an additional 80,000 pounds of milk that are eligible for coverage. It’s a small step to take to ensure your business is covered.”

Vilsack encourages producers to use the online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. They can type in specific operation data and explore price projections and market scenarios to determine what level of coverage is best for them. They can also compare the data to see how the program would have helped in previous years, such as 2008, when margins dropped from $8 to $3 in just three months. The online resource is on a secure website that can be accessed from computers, mobile phones or tablets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Farmers also have a chance to share comments and help shape the Margin Protection Program for the future. Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of the opportunity for public comments on both the Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Product Donation Program until Dec. 15, 2014. Comments can be submitted to USDA via the regulations.gov website at http://go.usa.gov/GJSA or send them by mail to: Danielle Cooke, Special Programs Manager, Price Support Division, FSA, USDA, STOP 0512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-0512.

Today’s announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

To learn more about the Margin Protection Program for dairy, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency county office at offices.usda.gov or visit us on the Web at www.fsa.usda.gov.