The nation’s oldest farm and rural-public-interest organization, the National Grange, has called on the 110th U.S. Congress to adopt progressive public policies that will enhance and re-invigorate rural America. National Grange officials say that immediate attention must be directed to issues that preserve the unique character of rural communities. Ignoring critical rural issues at this time will result in a loss of prosperity and opportunity for the young rural generation, according to the Washington, D.C.-based group.

“We must assure that basic infrastructure and public services are available to everyone living in rural communities,” says National Grange President William Steel.  “We hope that the 110th Congress will mark a new approach to American government,” he says, “where extreme partisan politics will finally take a back seat to Americans’ common-sense hopes and desires. Revitalizing rural America is one of the most important priorities of this generation.”

Steel says the new Congress must assure energy security for rural America, as well as improved health care. He stresses that Congress must re-invigorate its commitment to improve rural education, public safety, transportation services, housing, labor and telecommunications access. He notes that the National Grange has supported rural access to broadband and high-speed Internet communication services for many years, in order to ensure good quality of life in remote areas.

Steel calls for the adoption of federal farm programs that will foster increased citizen participation in the agricultural sector. Namely, he says, distributing agricultural production as broadly as possible by encouraging more individuals and families to include agricultural production as part of their entrepreneurial business plans or personal lifestyle goals.

“These issues will be even more important than traditional agriculture, trade and environmental policies that command today’s news headlines,” he says. “We must assure that basic infrastructure and public services are available to everyone living in rural communities.”

The National Grange has more than 300,000 members in 37 states. Steele emphasizes that the Congress needs to put partisan issues a side and challenges members to work together on issues that benefit farmers and rural Americans.

Source: The National Grange