The Grange is the nation's oldest national agricultural organization, with grassroots units established in 3,600 local communities in 37 states. Its 300,000 members provide service to agriculture and rural areas on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable Rural America. It was formed in the years following the American Civil War to unite private citizens in improving the economic and social position of the nation's farm population. Over the past 137 years, it has evolved to include non-farm rural families and communities.
The Grange is also a fraternal order known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, hence the "P of H" on the organization's logo. Founding members determined that a fraternal organization would be best able to combine loyalty and democratic ideals to provide service to others. The Grange was one of the first formal groups to admit women to membership on the basis of equality with men. It remains so today.
The 11-story landmark National Grange headquarters building in Washington, D.C. was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 29, 1960, and is the only private edifice in a federal block across from the White House. It serves as a non-governmental headquarters for agricultural and rural families. A professional staff administers policies established annually by democratic Grange processes at local county, and state levels.
Each year, a listing of more than 1,400 issues of concern is published and distributed by the National Grange. Current national issues include:
Rural Highways & Infrastructure
Rural Schools Partnerships
Conservation Reserve Program
Rural Medicare Reform
United Nations Climate Control
Regional Dairy Compacts
Fast Track Trade Legislation
Endangered Species Act
Food Safety Protection
Rural Telecommunications Access
Preservation of Farmland
Major objectives of the National Grange support stewardship of America's natural resources; promotion of world-wide free trade; a combination of local and federal support for rural education, medical, communications, and road systems; non-partisan political participation; assurance of safe and properly labeled food products; organization of cooperatives and other economic services to support rural Americans; and elimination of direct government farm programs so as to assure a competitive and efficient farm system.
The National Grange supports the passage of progressive legislation that will benefit U.S. agriculture, rural America, and the nation in general. After 137 years, it remains the nation's oldest and strongest sustained organizational force working for a better life for rural Americans everywhere.
On December 4, 1867 in a small Washington, DC building that housed the office of William Saunders, Superintendent of Propagating Gardens in the Department of Agriculture, the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, more commonly known as the Grange, was born. Here, sitting around a plain wooden table, a group of seven earnest men, planned what was destined to become a vital force in preserving and expanding American democracy. They were all men of vision-they had faith in God, in their fellow man and the future. The Seven Founders of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry were:
Oliver H. Kelley • William Saunders
Aaron B. Grosh • William M. Ireland
John R. Thompson • Francis McDowell
John Trimble (Assisted by Caroline Hall)
Their names are inscribed on a Birthplace Marker located near the site of the original building on the south side of 4th Street SW, near Madison Street on the mall in Washington DC The marker was officially dedicated on September 9, 1951 and is the only private monument on the mall.
The National Grange is 137 Years of Service to Rural America...
Today's Grange provides an opportunity to serve by providing leadership for local community service projects. Examples of some projects include organizing a softball league, providing hearing testing, building a community center, sponsoring a community fair, staffing an after school child care program, conducting a candidate debate and organizing voter registration drives.
The Grange believes in leadership development, and reaches out to all people in an effort to respond to real needs. It builds a better community by providing the services that people need to live better lives.
In working together, the Grange is able to provide assistance when the government can’t and individuals alone aren’t strong enough. By working together the Grange builds community and people.
The Grange provides each member with a legislative voice at the local, state and national level. Members are part of a grassroots constituency enabling them to effectively express their views and influence legislative policy at the highest levels of government. The Grange is nonpartisan, but it vigorously encourages member participation in the political process.
The fellowship, recreation and social activities in the Grange are developed with the family in mind – children and senior citizens alike are very welcome in the Grange. Competitions in music, art, public speaking, crafts, and a whole variety of other activities are an important part of every Grange’s agenda.
THE SUBORDINATE (LOCAL) GRANGE
This unit of the organization is built around the community. Men, women and youth are admitted on equal terms. Those who are 14 years of age are eligible for full membership. Each member has one vote. The local Grange elects its own officers and controls its own affairs in community matters. It confers the first four ritualistic Degrees.
Although regular business Grange meetings are for members only, the educational and literary programs are frequently open to the public. All Grange activities are for the purpose of developing leadership, improving community life, and expanding opportunities for all people.
Approximately 300,000 people are members of the Grange in 3,600 communities nationwide.
THE POMONA (COUNTY) GRANGE
Subordinate Granges within a given district are grouped together on a county or regional basis into Pomona Granges that meet monthly or quarterly. The Pomona Grange offers the Fifth Degree of the order, thus extending the lessons and opportunities of the Subordinate Grange. The Pomona Grange provides the leadership for educational, legislative, and business interests of the Subordinate Granges in its jurisdiction.
THE STATE GRANGE
The State Grange is a delegate body representing Subordinate and Pomona Granges. At their annual conventions, State Granges consider many important matters relating to legislation and public policy, with particular reference to agriculture, other matters of concern to rural America and the general welfare of the state as a whole. Inasmuch as State Grange policies originate in the Subordinate and Pomona units of the Order and are conveyed through their delegates, this branch is, in a special sense, expressive of Grange thought and sentiment throughout the entire state.
Voting authority is vested in the delegate body, which in most instances, is composed of the Masters of Subordinate and Pomona Granges and their spouses, each having one vote. The Sixth Degree of the Order is conferred at these conventions.
THE NATIONAL GRANGE
This is the parent branch of the Order which speaks with authority and understanding for the major branches of agriculture and Rural America. All business sessions of the National Grange are open to any Subordinate Grange member in good standing. As spectators, they have no vote in the deliberations, but they do have ample opportunity to appear before committees and to testify. As the supreme legislative body of the Order, policies are developed through the channels of Subordinate, Pomona and State units, and consequently embody the seasoned judgment of the membership.
At the annual convention of the National Grange, one day is devoted to the conferral of the Seventh Degree, the highest degree of Order. Degree candidates and members gather from all parts of the Nation for this annual ritualistic event.
What is the Grange??