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Chapter 17
What the Grange Stands for in International Affairs

As the Grange grew in influence in the United States, and as farmers throughout the world heard about the success of its program for helping America's farm population, it was inevitable for Grange leaders to be called upon for counsel and recommendations as to international impacts that affected Grange members, and all U.S. farmers, as well as farmers throughout the world.

Since the early 1900's and its 50th anniversary, the Grange has increasingly been active in world affairs to the point where its leaders are an important influence in today's tremendous effort to spread the best agricultural know-how to developing countries, and to utilize every possible means to reduce the starvation doom that increasingly faces millions of people.

It has been said that half the people of the world daily go to bed hungry. For many years, the Grange's great purpose has been to support and work energetically for programs that will provide an adequate diet for more and more people.

Appearing in March, 1966 before a Congressional Committee in support of the Food For Freedom legislation, the Master of the National Grange, speaking also as President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, and Chairman of the Committee on the World Food Crisis, made this keynote statement:

The Grange and IFAP have clear, established records of concern for the development of programs to meet human needs, for expanding international trade on a sound basis and for agricultural development-both in developed and developing nations ....

We live today in a world of strange and baffling paradoxes. We know more about how to produce and prepare high-quality food for maximum nutritional value than at any time in history; yet we have the bleak prospect that many people will starve to death this year, and the prospects for adequate diet for the rapidly expanding population will become increasingly dim.

In our Western Civilization, we have developed the highest and best techniques of distribution of food products in all of history. Yet, a substantial part of the world is hungry simply because there exists no marketing and transportation organization adequate to move foodstuffs into the food-deficit areas.

We know more about nutrition for both humans and animals than ever before, yet two-thirds of the world suffers from malnutrition, and in some parts of the world, over half the children born die before they reach school age because of inadequate and improper diet ....

Due to the technological advancement in the agricultural production of the U.S., the British Commonwealth countries, Western Europe, and parts of South America, we are now able to produce food far beyond the ability of any normal market arrangement to absorb and distribute. Therefore, while the world suffers from a lack of available productive land in the food-deficit areas, the United States has some 50 million acres of land reserves. The developed world and some of the developing countries, including those in grave danger of mass starvation, are spending billions of dollars for military purposes. But they cannot afford the capital necessary to provide food and fiber for a needy world ....

In short, we know how to feed the world, and we probably have enough resources in the world, if properly harnessed, to provide an adequate diet for the present and projected population, but we have not found an effective way to provide the food necessary from our American productive capacity to prevent starvation and upgrade diets and to insist that the rest of the developed countries of the world share the burden with us.

How the Grange Became a World Agricultural Leader

Today's established international position of the Grange, and the recognition the organization and its leaders have earned, all came about because of the initiative, straight-thinking, and practical approaches that have characterized Grange involvement in world affairs. The way the Grange develops its policies and builds the backing of its thousands of members for national and international governmental projects is basic and unique. Over 600 meetings are held each weekday night of thousands of thoughtful, down-to-earth Grange members. The Patrons who participate are people who, by their very nature and by reason of the fraternal, ritualistic structure of the organization which brings them together, are characterized by their respect for each other and for other people. They base their conclusions on respect for property rights, as well as individual, personal rights of the other person. This characteristic arises in part from the fact that they live in open country, in God's out-of-doors; but also it arises in part out of the fraternal climate that dominates Grange meetings, where there is a ritualistic ceremony that cultivates the mind, and puts it into proper order to think straight, reasonably, and equitably.

Their discussions of national and world problems and the best ways to deal with them, give support and confidence to state and national Grange leaders in their dealings with high governmental officials and with international organizations of farmers.

An enthusiastic Grange member's idea started it all. Grange Historian Charles M. Gardner tells the story of David Lubin, an enthusiastic California Patron, who conceived the idea of an International Institute of Agriculture. It was his dream that a permanent agency be set up in which nations throughout the world would be represented, and which would have established headquarters, be financed internationally, and devote its energies largely to research work along practical lines of world agriculture. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy became very interested in this project and in 1905 the proposed agency was set up in permanent quarters at Rome, eventually becoming an international spokesman for agriculture with more than 60 different nations represented.

This first attempt at international collaboration united the nations in a program for improved farm conditions and started the effort for greater unity among agricultural groups and peoples. Far-reaching results came from this start, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.

From the very beginning the Grange was involved in all of these developments. For example, President Coolidge in 1926 named National Master Louis J. Taber as one of the delegates to the International Institute of Agriculture. His close personal inspection of agricultural conditions in Denmark and adjacent countries was the forerunner of similar contributions by his successors, National Masters Albert S. Goss and Herschel D. Newsom, who brought back to Grange sessions and to their National Capital contacts, a wealth of information and a broader understanding of world agricultural problems.

IFAP Founded

It was during the administration of National Master Goss that the greatest advances were made in world agricultural organization, both among governments and among farmers' own organizations. Following a conference of nations at Hot Springs, Va. to consider the problems of food and agriculture called by President Roosevelt, a second meeting in Quebec in 1945 included National Master Goss, as an Advisor. Through his efforts due recognition was given the work for 40 years of the International Institute of Agriculture which was consolidated with the new FAD (Food and Agriculture Organization).

Soon thereafter independent non-governmental farm organizations from seven nations met in Quebec to consider the creation of an independent federation of farm organizations to bring the farmers of the world together to meet world food problems, and to protect the interests of producers.

Mr. Goss was very active in this and in the meeting in May, 1946, in London, at which representatives from 31 nations formed the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP). Mr. Goss represented the Grange at international food conferences and had much to contribute to the policies adopted, and in helping to build the IFAP into a strong organization.

Grange contributions to the IFAP and all that it means to American farmers to be a vital part of world agriculture were emphasized by the three years as President of the IFAP that National Master Herschel D. Newsom has just completed.

Importance of Farmer Organization Stressed

In Church House, London, England, on May 3, 1966 in his 20th anniversary address as IFAP President, National Master Newsom, speaking from the rich background of the Granges' 100 years of leadership in American agriculture, made this significant statement about organized farmers. He was paralleling developments in the U.S. in which the Grange has had such prominent part, with comparable developments in other leading countries of the world. He said:
Twenty years ago-as today-farm leaders believed that farming could only be prosperous when farmers joined together to understand and tackle their problems of production and marketing. Twenty years ago-as today-farm leaders realized that an ever-improving productivity was the master key to progress. And this is the place to remind those who might tend to overlook it, that few-if any countries have seen the improvement in agricultural productivity matched by comparable performance by the other sectors of the economy. Nor have there been any more illustrations of general economic advance without agricultural progress having preceded such industrial or economic development.

Twenty years ago-as today-farm leaders agreed that a trusting partnership between farmers' organizations and governments is essential if constructive farm policies are to be implemented. Twenty years ago-as today-farm leaders recognized agriculture's responsibility to consumers.

As we went along we came to realize how deep was the community of interest between primary producers the world over and how fruitful were our continuing consultations amongst farmers' representatives . . .

In rich and poor countries alike, primary producers have to denounce the symmetrical illusions of laissez faire-which creates chaos and favors exploitation of the weak by the strong-and of complete state control-which stifles individual initiative and breeds inefficiency. In rich and poor countries alike, primary producers have to limit or regulate speculation-of which the prime victims are always those at the base of the economic structure, that is to say, the farmers themselves. We as farmers in our respective countries, therefore, must promote formulae of economic and trade organization which create a basis for the stability necessary to harmonious progress.

It is natural that, with the interest of the Grange in feeding the hungry people of the world, it should become active in many segments of this great problem with tremendous implications involving peace and war, the freeing up of trade restrictions between nations, prevention of economic disruption of domestic markets, sale of surplus farm commodities to communist nations, and various positions on tariffs. How the Grange stands on these matters and the multitude of details involved in international affairs are constantly reviewed through the unique machinery of the Grange, which encourages members everywhere to "have their say on what Grange policies should be."

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