Wednesday, May 25, 2011

National Grange Fly-In

The PA State Grange was proud to have 9 or our members attend the National Grange Legislative Fly-In Sunday and Monday, May 22 & 23, 2011.

Members included Betsy Huber (Chester Co.), Stacy Bruker (Perry Co.), Ron and Dottie Houtz (Centre Co.), Libby Greene (Northumberland Co.), Corin Fuhrman and Allison Lytle (Lancaster Co.), Dina Zug, (Juniata Co.) and Carl Meiss (York Co.).

The PA State Grange rented a 15 passenger van to drive everyone to D.C. We left from the Farm Show Complex parking lot at 2:00 p.m. Sunday and arrived at National Grange Headquarters around 4:15 where we were greeted by staff members and met other Grangers from around the country who were attending the Fly-In. National Grange President, Ed Luttrell welcomed everyone and then turned the program over to Nicole Payla Wood (Legislative Director) and Grace Boatright (Program Assistant). They explained the process for the next two days (we only stayed through Monday) and handed out information for us to present to our Congressmen and Senators during our meetings. We also got to meet Amanda Brozana, the new Communications Director for National Grange (also a native Pennsylvanian).

Nicole gave us some background on the legislative initiatives that we would be discussing with our U.S. Representatives and Senators. These included asking for support of S. 575 involving Interchange Fees and the Dodd-Frank Act, asking Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) as part of the Affordable Care Act, and seeking bipartisan Congressional support and passage of HR 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, amending FIFRA and CWA to conclusively declare that, under both laws, no permit is required for the labeled use of any registered pesticide.

Nicole and her staff had scheduled appointments for all Grange members to meet with their respective Congressmen and Senators. Unfortunately, for PA Grangers, we would only be in D.C. Monday so we could not all attend the meeting with Senator Toomey's office Tuesday morning, but our Legislative Liaison, Betsy Huber, met with the Senator's staff on behalf of our PA delegation.

After this briefing at the Headquarters building, we headed across the Potomac to the Applebee's in Alexandria for dinner before proceeding to the Quality Inn for a good night's sleep.

Everyone was up bright and early Monday morning to get breakfast at the hotel before we headed south to Mount Vernon, George Washington's homestead, for a private tour arranged by National Grange. We were met there by the rest of the Grange group, toured the mansion and grounds and participated in a special presentation of a wreath (placed by our own Ed Luttrell) and the Pledge of Allegiance and a reading of Washington's Prayer at the tomb of George and Martha.

Prior to boarding buses, we picked up box lunches and toured the Mount Vernon Gift Shop. We then headed to the Capitol and the various offices of the House and Senate for our individual meetings with staff members.

I met with Marianne Myers from Congressman Platts office at 1:30 and we had a very pleasant and informative meeting. Marianne was very receptive to my requests and promised to pass along my views to the Congressman (Congressman Platts has been invited to speak at numerous Community and Pomona Grange meetings in the York County area throughout the years and has been very supportive of the Grange and our legislative policies).

At 2:30 our entire PA delegation met at Senator Casey's office with three of his staff. We explained our legislative policies and requests as we had done in other offices, but Casey's staff did not appear to me (and to others in our group) to be nearly as receptive to constituents' viewpoints.

There were some other meetings scheduled for 3:30 and then we all met at Union Station to board the van for our trip back to PA at around 4:30. We made one stop on the way out of D.C. at the Grange Headquarters to drop Betsy's suitcase off which resulted in a minor mishap with the van and a vehicle belonging to a Uniformed Secret Service Agent (you'll have to ask Stacy about that for more details since I was inside the Headquarters Building at the time).

We made one stop at the Mountain Gate Restaurant in Thurmont, MD for their buffet dinner on our way home and arrived back at the Farm Show Complex around 9:00 p.m.

Overall, I felt that the National Grange Fly-In was very well planned and successful. Thank you to National Grange President Ed Luttrell and his staff. I wish to thank all of our PA Grangers who attended. I think the two days were informative and educational as well as an opportunity for us to get together and enjoy each other's company.

Thank you to Betsy for making most of the arrangements and to Stacy for thinking to get a rental van when our numbers did not justify a bus as well as driving the home leg of our trip.

Carl Meiss
PA State Grange

Friday, May 13, 2011

Huber & Masser Re-elected as Penn State Trustees

Thursday, May 12, 2011 delegates from county agriculture associations throughout Pennsylvania met at the Penn Stater in State College to elect two Trustees for the Penn State College of Agriculture Board of Trustees.

Betsy Huber & Keith Masser, both incumbents, were unanimously re-elected to three-year terms.

Masser, from Schuylkill County, heads the Sterman Masser Inc. and Keystone Potato Products LLC and serves on the PA Farm Bureau State Board of Directrs. This is Keith's second term as a Trustee.

Huber, from Chester County, is the immediate past Master/President of the PA State Grange and currently serves as their Legislative Liaison. Betsy is beginning her third three-year term as a Trustee.

A total of six trustees, plus the PA Agriculture Secretary (George Greig, a Grange member from Crawford County), represent the interests of agriculture on the 32-member Governing Board of the Penn State University.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charter Presentation

Last night, April 12, 2011, was a great night for the Pennsylvania State Grange.

With the help of Deputy Lorena Baughman, I had the opportunity to present my first charter as President of the PA State Grange to members of Hyndman Grange #1954 in Bedford County. What a way to celebrate Grange Month!

Hyndman Grange was officially closed in March 2009 but the building was never sold. During 2010 then President Betsy Huber had contact with long-time Grange member Calvin Cook about opening a new Grange in the building. With Calvin's help in the area, he got the word out to people that we were working to organize a new Grange in the Hyndman area. When we met for our first organizational meeting in November 2010, the people attending were rallying around a local issue...the school district was considering closing the local elementary school which would necessitate busing the children 20+ miles to Bedford. With this issue in mind, those first attendees were able to recruit more people and they had their official organizational meeting on January 11, 2011. It was decided to keep the old Grange name of Hyndman Grange #1954 because the deed for the building and property was still in that name.

Since that time, they have done a total remake of their Grange hall. They have repainted and wallpapered the entire main hall area and totally cleaned up the basement. They were able to get two refrigerators, a stove/oven, a microwave oven and a large coffee maker all DONATED! They already have a number of hall rentals set up and will hold their first event, a Zumba class, this Sunday.

This is a fantastic group of new Grangers on the move!

Monday, January 31, 2011

PA State Grange Planning Meeting

I am extremely proud of the PA State Grange Officers, Exec. Committee, Committee Directors and Committee Members for their hard work this past weekend during the 2011 PA State Grange Planning meeting in State College.

The Executive Committee met during the day on Friday and then the Officers and Executive Committee members went right to work in the evening and met my challenge to create a Mission Statement for the PA State Grange. Work on this had begun years ago under Past President Betsy Huber and it was completed this week.

PA State Grange Mission Statement: "The PA State Grange supports the local Granges to help members grow as individuals, unify their communities and create opportunity through legislation and service."

The group also set up a tentative schedule for Family Festival (July 14-17, 2011) as well as for State Session (October 15-17, 2011).

The Committees all worked on their respective camps and projects for the year as well as finalizing their contests and programs for the new 2011-2012 Guide to Contests and Programs.

Carl Meiss

Mission Statement of the PA State Grange

The PA State Grange Officers have created a Mission Statement for the PA State Grange:

"The PA State Grange supports the local Granges to help members grow as individuals, unify their communities and create opportunity through legislation and service."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Great Christmas Gift Idea - 2010 PA State Grange Cookbook

Here is a great Christmas gift idea - a brand new 2010 PA State Grange Cookbook! Over 1,500 recipes from Grange members and friends throughout Pennsylvania covering Appetizers & Snacks, Beverages, Breads, Casseroles, Desserts, Diabetic & Low Calorie, Jams & Jellies, Main Dishes, Pickles, Salads, Soups & Stews, This n' That and Vegetables.

Only $18.00 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.

Buy on line at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PA Grange Turnout at National Grange Convention

National Grange Convention Opened Tuesday, November 9, 201 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hilton University in Charlotte, N.C. Newly elected PA State Grange President Carl Meiss and past President Betsy Huber are representing PA Grangers as their delegates.

Tuesday morning began with a tour for the delegates to the Rev. Billy Graham Library, a very interesting and moving experience. Opening was at 2:00 and at 2:30 the National Master Ed Luttrell gave his address followed by his internal report. Committees then began their reports and business was begun on resolutions from all the State Granges.

Wednesday morning began promptly at 8:00 a.m. with a "Salute to Agriculture" breakfast with Johnny Wynne, Dean of NC State College of Agriculture. Session then opened at 10:30 with more work on resolutions. "E-Membership" was approved and should go on line at very shorty. Luncheon speaker, Kathleen Franco, Executive Director, Public Policy, AT&T was very interesting..."Broadband Access for Rural America". Session re-opened at 2:30 and recessed at 4:30. The Idea Fair & Best of Show was open for touring from 4:30-5:30. Session reconvened at 7:30 with a roll call of states and all Grange members attending being recognized, then we had a fantastic Agriculture Advocate, Amanda Nolz, Contributing Editor, BEEF News, speak, followed by more business on resolutions. Session closed at 9:30.

The Youth have a Get-Acquainted Party scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night followed by Youth Officer Practice.

Thursday Session will open at 8:30 a.m. with committee reports and work on resolutions continuing. The Youth tour to the Graham Library begins at 9:00 along with the Idea Fair and Best of Show. There will be a special service for the veterans in the morning and a memorial service for Grange members in the afternoon.

More to come...