The National Grange, the United States’ oldest agricultural fraternity and rural service organization, will hold its 157th annual conference and legislative session at the Niagara Falls Convention Center from Nov. 14-18. With nearly 600 elected officers, delegates, Grange members and guests attending, the annual convention serves to set national legislative policies for the organization, and is also a major networking and social event for members from across the country.
This year, partnerships will be elevating the National Grange's work on behalf of all Americans.
While most events during the week are for members-only, one event open to the public is presented in partnership with Rural Minds, a nonprofit focused on destigmatizing conversations about mental health in rural America, and NY FarmNet. The “Talk Saves Lives” program will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, in the Olmsted room of the Niagara Falls Convention Center, 101 Old Falls St.
A press release stated, “To help confront the rural mental health emergency happening in rural America, this presentation will provide suicide awareness and prevention training from Becky Wiseman, LCSW-R, a mental health professional with an approach that’s relevant to people living in rural communities. Among other things, attendees will learn what causes people to consider suicide, protective factors that lower suicide risk, and strategies for managing mental health and being proactive about self-care.”
Also open to the public is a vaccination clinic, in partnership with McUlsky Health Force and pharmacists from the American Society of Consulting Pharmacists. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 – National Rural Health Day – this vaccination clinic will be open in the Cataract Room of the Niagara Falls Convention Center.
The latest COVID and influenza vaccines will be available – free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to bring proof of insurance or Medicare/Medicaid number. A limited number of gift cards will be made available to those who receive vaccinations at this clinic.
Other events throughout the convention include a “Quilts of Valor” presentation to local veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 15; workshops on programming and legislative efforts for members; the “Grange Honors Night” on Friday, Nov. 17; and the annual “Celebration Banquet and Evening of Excellence,” highlighting a year of work for rural America.
With more than 500 attendees expected, members will be going on tours of Niagara Falls and the Power Vista, and will be performing community service in the region. A collection of socks, mittens and hats will be collected to be presented to Community Missions of Niagara Frontier.
During the Grange Honors night, the national Grange will present the National Teacher of the Year, Firefighter/EMS Worker of the Year, and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awards, among awards for Grange members and Granges nationwide.
Additionally, the Grange showcase – open to the public in the Convention Center – will feature the work of the seven host region states, contest entries from around the country, and will also emphasize the work the National Grange has completed, including partnerships with Rural Minds, USAging, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Affordable Connectivity Program, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
"This is one of largest conventions in recent memory," National Grange President Betsy Huber said. "We are thrilled to feel so welcome in New York. This convention is not just for Grangers, but also serves to show all of America what the Grange has done and will continue to do on behalf of rural and small-town America. We are incredibly grateful for the support of partners like Rural Minds, USPTO, and McUlsky Health Force being a part of this convention."
The National Grange is the country’s largest and oldest agricultural fraternity, advocating for rural America with more than 1,400 community Granges and 140,000 members serving their hometowns nationwide.
For additional information on this convention, visit http://grange.biz/Convention157.
Founded in 1867, the Grange is a fraternal, nonpartisan organization with roughly 140,000 members across the nation in over 1,400 local chapters. Open to anyone age 14 and older interested in agriculture, rural concerns or bettering their community, the Grange never endorses candidates, but works on issues made policy of the organization through a grassroots vetting process.
Learn more about the Grange by visiting www.nationalgrange.org.