nationalyouthdirector wrote a new post, USDA to Provide $332 Million to Protect and Restore Agricultural Working Lands, Grasslands and Wetlands, on the site National Grange Youth & Young Adults 10 months, 1 week ago
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture is making available $332 million in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement […]
By: Emily and Matt Shoop, New York State Grange Youth
When we hear about organizing a Grange, it is often a re-organization, or in an area where there once was a Grange or other rural organization. Starting […]
nationalyouthdirector wrote a new post, National Grange Youth Ambassadors Celebrate Ag Day, on the site National Grange Youth & Young Adults 10 months, 2 weeks ago
Young agriculturalists are often encouraged to seek internships or work for another farm before returning to the family farm. The object is to provide the aspiring farmer a chance to see how other farms operate. […]
Last week, the National Grange Youth Department started a LinkedIn group called National Grange Youth Connections. The purpose of the group is to start connecting Grangers of multiple generations. The strength of […]
It’s fair season across the United States as Grangers participate in local, county or state fairs. For Grange youth who have not had their fair yet, they will be helping with local Grange displays, helping at the Grange food booth, or possibly entering some of their best projects and livestock for judging.
Grangers have utilized fairs as a way to promote the work of the Grange and to encourage others to join the organization. However, Grangers are not the only folks using the fair as a promotional tool. People seeking office will as well. Fairs are an easy way to reach rural communities. They will shake hands, participate in fair contests and share their connection back to the farm.
This week, the Associated Press talked about the phenomenon. The story is follows.
Charlene Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Youth Director
Pigs, cows and votes: Candidates try for farm cred
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For candidates in the Midwest, almost nothing tops a photo opportunity with a barnyard animal or a colorful anecdote about life on the farm.
Take Mary Burke, a former business executive running as a Democrat for governor in Wisconsin, who recently paused to check out the cows at a county fair. Or Illinois venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who talks about his dairy farmer grandfather as a role model in his Republican bid for governor. And then there is Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, a Republican who gained national attention with an ad touting her hog castration skills.
Most voters in these states don’t work on farms. Most candidates don’t either. But many of those seeking office seem to be stretching farther than ever for a barnyard background to establish some common-man authenticity.
“It’s the classic ‘I grew up in a log cabin and walked uphill to school both ways,'” said Sue Dvorksy, a former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.
Sometimes the connection requires a bit of tractor-pulling effort.
Rauner is a millionaire with two Ivy League degrees, but his official biography stresses that thanks to granddad: “Bruce knew how to ride a horse at 6, milk a cow at 8, and shoot a rifle at 10.” Burke’s main selling point is her successes with the family bicycle company, but a key photo on her website shows her in a denim shirt in front of a tractor.
Recently in Iowa, both the governor and lieutenant governor, who do have rural backgrounds, felt the need to also assert their animal slaughter resumes.
“I held the hogs while the veterinarian castrated it,” Gov. Terry Branstad said at a June news conference.
Then Lt. Gov. Kim Reynold chimed in: “I didn’t castrate hogs, but I do know how to skin a chicken and I can do that pretty well.”
So far, they have not demonstrated those skills on the campaign trail.
Nowhere is a rural record more desirable than Iowa, a state with strong farming roots even though two-thirds of the population lives in urban areas. Candidates here trek around farms, gobble pie at state fairs and talk farm subsidies. While Ernst’s ad became fodder for late-night comedy, it also struck a chord that helped propel the state lawmaker to victory in the five-way GOP primary.
“The great thing about Joni’s ad is people relate to her,” said Rob Jesmer, a Republican consultant.
Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard who was raised on a farm, now faces Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in the battle to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin. The two are locked in a dead heat, and Ernst’s campaign has tried to brand Braley as a lawyer who doesn’t understand rural issues.
Braley’s campaign has countered that he was raised in a small town, his grandfather was a farmer and he worked agricultural jobs in his youth. But he spent time apologizing earlier this year after a video was released of him referring to senior Sen. Charles Grassley, a six-term Republican, as a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law.”
Since then, Republican operatives have tried to hit Braley with a video they say shows him claiming to be a farmer at a parade and with a story on a dispute he had with a neighbor at his vacation community over her chickens.
“Bruce understands what rural Iowa is all about because that’s where he came from,” said Braley campaign spokesman Jeff Giertz.
Candidates in nearby states are also reaching for rural connections.
In Nebraska, Republican Pete Ricketts selected Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann as his running mate in the governor’s race, citing his dairy farming experience. His Democratic opponent, Chuck Hassebrook, has touted the fact that he lives in a rural town.
And in Wisconsin, Burke cites her ancestors as she seeks to topple Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
“My great-grandparents were farmers,” said the former Trek Bicycle executive as she pet cows at the Rock County fair.
The candidates must be careful not to overreach. Of Rauner, Ken Snyder, a Chicago-based Democratic media consultant, notes: “everybody knows he didn’t make $53 million last year as a farmer.”
Rauner’s spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, said the candidate just wants voters to know “what guided his life.”
To the folks actually raising hogs, the fixation with farming may not be a bad thing, said Chris Peterson, a lifelong famer from Clear Lake, Iowa.
Since candidates “pander to everybody,” he said, “I’m glad they’re remembering us whichever way possible.”
___ Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont contributed to this report.
Tie Dye is something that has come in and out of style through the decades. Just when I think its out, it comes back again. The first time I completed a tie dye project was in art class in middle school. The teacher had multiple vats of dye for the students to dip their rubber-banned shirts into. Same again in 4-H.
Today, there are kits and multiple ideas on how to tie dye shirts. It’s actually a great activity for Grange youth and juniors. First, the kits give plenty of ideas on how to dye shirts. And, many use spray bottles or squeeze bottles to apply the dye. The benefit is you can leave the shirts absorb more of the dye to make more vibrant colors.
You can pick up a kit at Wal-Mart or a local craft store. Many offer larger kits for groups. Or go old school and purchase Rit dye, fill containers with the needed tye and water mixture. Go wild.
Need pattern ideas- check out ideas on Pintrest, Youtube, or through a Google search. It also can go beyond a basic t-shirt. Or for a twist, instead of plain white shirts, make Grange shirts that can be dyed.
Check out ideas and share your tie-dye creations on our Facebook page.
Greetings Grangers! I hope you all had a great Grange Month, promoting our organization and working on your youth and young adult programs. I was looking through Charlene’s Grange files and came across this poem written by a Granger as a reminder on the power, or value, of one Granger to changing their Grange.
The Value Of One Member
Ten little Grangers standing in a line. One disliked the Master, then there were nine.
Nine ambitious Grangers offered to work late. One forgot her promise, and then there were eight.
Eight creative Grangers had ideas good as heaven. One lost enthusiasm, then there were seven.
Seven loyal Grangers got into a fix. They quarreled over projects, then there were six.
Six Grangers still remained with spirit and drive. One moved away, then there were five.
Five steadfast Grangers wished that there were more. One became indifferent, then there were four.
Four cheerful Grangers who never disagree, ‘til one complained of meetings, then there were three.
Three eager Grangers, what do they do? One got discouraged, then there were two.
Two lonely Grangers, our rhyme is nearly done. One joined a pep team and then there was one.
One faithful Granger was feeling rather blue, met with a neighbor, and then there were two.
Two earnest Grangers each enrolled one more, doubling their number, then there were four.
Four determined Grangers, just couldn’t wait, ‘til each one won another, then there were eight.
Eight excited Grangers signed up sixteen more. In six more verses, there’ll be a thousand twenty-four!!
— Author Unknown
So have you asked a friend to come to a Grange event? Or helped to develop a new Grange project to impact your community? If so, please let me know – I’d love you to hear your story.Until next time,
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Michigan State Master Chris Johnston for this post. This first appeared as part of his Master’s Column in the Michigan State Grange’s newsletter, Michigan Grange News.
“Since God placed man on earth, agriculture has existed. There is no occupation that precedes it, no order or association that can rank with the tillers of the soil.” Yesterday I spent some time driving around the state and it was made very apparent that farmers throughout southeast Michigan were very content and anxious to be once again doing what they do best and tilling the brown soil from which life is sustained.
It makes me happy to see that the teachings and lessons of our ritual has been made part of the daily life of the agricultural world. For many years in the beginning of the Grange, we not only worked towards the betterment of rural life, but also for the betterment of production practices. What has now become common to find local farmers around a table drinking coffee in small town America used to be the Grange meetings, where farmers would come to once or twice a month and talk about how they have found a way to increase their yields.
It has now become the duty of Grange members to work towards increasing the yields of our labors. Whether it be through community service projects or through our legislative connections we have built over the last 140-plus years. While we continue to have a very strong interest in agriculture, we have morphed into an entity larger than just agriculture. We now have taken on such tasks as pushing for the advancement of the 21st century in ways such as broadband internet access to not only the urban but also the rural areas of the country.
As we continue to work with the legislature to provide the means necessary to accomplish this goal we are, in effect, working towards the betterment of rural America. Since the internet is now used in many agricultural aspects such as directing the farmers in the best way for planting to increase yield, allowing a farmer to have just a portion of a field fertilized as opposed to just blanket fertilizing the entire field. Thus saving money for the farmer and saving money for the consumer.
With spring in the air and the essence of agriculture all around us, this is an excellent time to refresh our membership of our ritual through the exemplification of the degree work.
This week, FFA chapters are celebrating National FFA Week. The Grange continues to have a strong commitment to this ag education youth organization. Subordinate Granges provide ag education scholarships and […]
nationalyouthdirector wrote a new post, Motivational Monday: You have to do the hard things, on the site National Grange Youth & Young Adults 1 year, 11 months ago
I do enjoy reading the thoughts of great business leaders, agriculture bloggers and a great inspirational book. One of my favorite bloggers is Lee Cockerell. Cockerell is the former executive vice president of […]
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