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National Grange Wishes USDA a Happy Sesquicentennial

By National Grange Press Release (5/22/12)

  MAY 22, 2012 --

National Grange President Ed Luttrell commended the United States Department of Agriculture on its 150th anniversary today.

"In 1862, Abraham Lincoln had the foresight to introduce legislation that would establish a Department of Agriculture. Although the country was in the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln knew that the nation's strength and ability to rebuild would come from agriculture," Luttrell said.

Luttrell said the Grange shares a "special kinship with the USDA as some of our early Brothers and Sisters of the Grange played a critical role in Lincoln's agricultural legacy."

In fact, the first botanist and landscape designer at the Department of Agriculture, Dr. William Saunders, was also a founder and first President of the National Grange.

"Both of our organizations have a strong commitment to supporting an affordable, safe and efficient food supply," said Luttrell. "As we begin preparations to celebrate our own 150th anniversary in 2017, I am happy to celebrate and congratulate the Department of Agriculture for all of its efforts throughout the agency's rich history."

Currently, the National Grange has on loan to the USDA and on display, a gavel made from naval orange wood. The naval orange was one of the many species that Saunders is credited with bringing to the United States and the gavel was carved from one of 4 original naval orange saplings imported from Brazil. Today the U.S. grows over 25 billion oranges.

The National Grange, founded in 1867 as America's first advocacy organization for agriculture and rural families, has more than 160,000 members in more than 2,100 chapters across the United States.

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