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Chapter 15
What the Grange Stands for in Farm Legislation, Policies and Programs

With great wisdom, the Grange Founders took every possible step, and its Declaration of Purposes adopted in February of 1874, makes the emphatic statement that the Grange is not to be or to become a partisan or party organization.

However, both the Founders, and subsequent leadership, strongly pointed out that by becoming a Patron of Husbandry no member gives up "that inalienable right and duty, that belongs to every American citizen, to take a proper interest in the politics of his country."

Over the years, even though politicians sought to become Grange members by calling themselves farmers, and attempted to involve the Order in partisan matters, Grange leaders kept above strictly party entanglements and led their members carefully and thoughtfully on the basis of principles, duly established. Thus have Grange recommendations become highly sought after by legislative and executive officials, becoming an important force in both administrative and legislative development-for the benefit not only of the farmers but for all Americans.

Early in the fight to keep the Grange non-partisan but to build its prestige as a strong force for good legislation, National Master James Draper in 1886, after a particularly severe test of Grange principles, had this to say:

A national farmers' organization without the power to discuss the political rights of its members would be a farce beneath the dignity of intelligent men. The farmers want an organization that will use its influence upon the legislatures, state and national, to protect the rights of their members; and no organization can long maintain standing with them if it does not render such assistance.

We have been adopting resolutions and petitions long enough and to little effect. Let us try the remedy that has been suggested at nearly every session of the National Grange; let us, with our ballots, send men to the legislatures, state and national, who will equalize and reduce taxation; restrain corporations from oppressing the people; keep our public domain for actual settlers; have the finances managed in the interest of the people; prevent gamblers from pricing our productions, and extend the same protection to the farmer and to the manufacturer.

For this great work the Grange was organized, and it was not born to die nor will it fail in the accomplishment of its purpose.

What the Grange Stands for in Basic Farm Policies

Each year Grange headquarters produces a "Summary of Legislative Policies and Programs" which outlines the National Grange position on every segment of agricultural development and growth, as well as Grange policy on matters of International Relations, Resource Development and Use, National Welfare, Education, Economic Matters, Health, and Transportation. It will be seen that Grange interest is not confined strictly to matters affecting the rural population, but is equally directed toward the well-being of all citizens and their general prosperity.

There are certain basic policies with which the Grange has been identified throughout its 100-year history.
The Grange seeks to obtain public recognition that agriculture is the foundation upon which much of the growth, progress, and development of our country has been built. U.S. agriculture supplies the American people with the most abundant, varied, and nutritious food supply to be found in the world; and at the lowest percentage of the consumer's spendable income in the history of the world. At the same time, it produces many of the raw materials which feed the world's largest industrial machine.

The Family Farm-Its Preservation

The Grange has long recognized the family farm as the backbone of American agriculture, and indeed our democratic society. A primary objective of the Grange is to preserve the family-type farm-individual enterprise-operation.
By Grange interpretation such an operation should:
(a) Place major reliance upon the farm family for both labor and management;
(b) Function on capital provided at the risk of the operator;
(c) Provide full-time productive employment to the family;
(d) Provide to the operating family its major source of income;
(e) Utilize modern labor-saving devices and other practices which contribute to efficiency; and
(f) Enable the family farm operator to earn and receive-for his labor, management and investment-a return which is reasonably comparable to that received for those engaged in other legitimate segments of the American economy.

Other Current Farm Policies

The continuing trend toward larger farms and fewer owners may be an economic necessity in order to create a viable agriculture. However, any acceleration of the trends toward the industrialized corporation-type farm will be viewed with grave concern by the Grange. This trend, if carried to the extreme, will establish a capitalistic monopoly and enable a few to exercise almost complete control over the majority, thereby weakening our democratic system and creating a threat to the economy of abundance which has blessed our Nation.

While vigorously reaffirming support for the capitalistic individual enterprise system, Grange policy declares that:
"The full fruits of this system can be more widely realized when opportunities, incentives, and rewards of enterprise are dispersed over a wide range of ownership."


To a reasonable degree, the supply of farm commodities must be brought into balance with the actual needs of the Nation including its foreign commitments. Programs resulting in buildups of excessively large government-owned stocks represent wasteful and unsound public policy.

Producers themselves must face their responsibility for effective control and management of their production if they are to receive an equitable income resulting from a balance between supply and demand in the market place. It is the responsibility of producers to assist government in the development of such programs-when needed-and to abide by provisions of the program once they are developed and approved by producers through democratic procedures.


The domestic parity wheat certificate program was developed and first recommended by the National Grange, which has, in cooperation with other wheat and commodity groups, and general farm organizations, succeeded in writing the program into law in the 1964 Farm Bill and in extending it to a 4-year program in the Food and Agriculture Act of 1965.


A balanced production of meat and animal products, the proper functioning of other farm commodity programs, and the expansion and protection of our foreign trade depends, to a large extent on a realistic program for the production, storage, and sale of feed grains stocks. The Grange, therefore, developed the feed grains provisions which were incorporated in the Food and Agriculture Act of 1965.


The Grange sought the passage of the Class I Base Dairy Surplus Program for federal milk marketing areas as included in Title I of the 1965 farm bill. This program protects the pooling provisions of the order by allocating to each producer his historic share of the Class I market, with the return for this production separately computed. The producer may thus eliminate that part of his production which goes into the market at the lower or "surplus" price without reducing his share of the Class I market.

The Grange will support the approval of this program in any federal milk marketing order area where the need has been established.


The Grange supports the foreign market development programs developed by commodity groups. These programs expand our dollar cash sales in foreign markets and have hearty endorsement of the Grange.

New and expanded foreign markets for our agricultural commodities should be aggressively developed by full use of the 5% set aside which the Congress has earmarked for that purpose out of foreign currencies derived from Title I, PL 480 sales.


The National Grange urges:
1. The return at the earliest practicable date to the parity principle in determining cotton price support;
2. The Secretary of Agriculture to encourage ASCS committees in cotton counties to request that cotton acreage be excluded from cropland adjustment contracts; and,
3. Amendments to the Food and Agriculture Act of 1965 to exempt cotton allotments of 10 acres or less from cropland adjustment programs.

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