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Grange plays an important role

The Grange, officially known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a fraternal organization with a rich history and community connection. The organization was formed in 1867 to advocate for and protect family farmers; one of the early battles was against the control the growing railroad monopoly of the time had over commerce. Although the issues have changed, the Grange continues to represent the views of rural residents and the agricultural community in the areas of transportation, farm programs, rural economic development, education, health and safety concerns, and more. In fact, the birth of the Extension Service and the Farm Credit System were in large part due to Grange lobbying.

Oregon family farmers are recognized for both planet-friendly practices and for high quality products. Specifically, Granges in Jackson and Josephine counties are making significant progress getting resolutions and policies adopted at the Oregon state and national Grange levels. These resolutions highlight Southern Oregon’s efforts to support regenerative agricultural practices, reduce or eliminate pesticide use, and deny permitting for the Jordan Cove pipeline.

In 2017, Ashland’s Bellview Grange resolution supporting legislative efforts to label neonicotinoids as restricted-use pesticides passed at the Oregon State Grange convention.

The resolution is now included on pages 1 and 2 of the National Grange 2017 Agriculture Policy Statement. (Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides toxic to bees and other pollinators.)

This year, the Bellview Grange submitted six resolutions — five related to regenerative agriculture and one opposing the Pacific Connector Pipeline. The Williams Grange submitted a resolution calling for enforcement of the Josephine County GMO crop ban (passed by majority vote in 2014), to join the GMO crop ban passed by the majority of Jackson County voters in 2014. All seven resolutions were approved at the Oregon State Convention and will now be heard at the National Grange Convention in Vermont, Nov. 13-17.

The Grange continues to fulfill its role meeting the needs of Oregon family farmers and the broader community we serve, as illustrated by these important policy statements adopted as 2018 resolutions. Visit OrGrange.org/Legislative to read these and others:

1. Ending the use of dicamba in the state of Oregon

2. Protect farm workers from pesticide drift

3. Regenerative agricultural standards

4. Support for seed savers

5. Actively support healthy pollinator populations

6. Jordan Cove LNG facility/Pacific Connector Pipeline

7. Enact Josephine County GMO planting ban

The Grange invites anyone and everyone to attend our monthly meetings — come learn more about us and the work we are doing in the community. To learn more about the Grange organization, visit the Oregon Grange website. Click here for a list of the Granges in Jackson and Josephine Counties to find the Grange closest to you and the monthly meeting schedule.

Richard Heller of Ashland is Bellview Grange master. Brian Barton is Williams Grange master.

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