WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The president of the National Grange, Edward Luttrell, issued the following statement regarding the 50th anniversary of a D.C. landmark yesterday:

"For 143 years, the National Grange has been an active presence on the Washington landscape advocating for our nation's rural and agricultural communities and families. The National Grange Building has stood at the heart of the nation's capitol for 50 years representing family values, community involvement, and rural advocacy -- ideals that every American can get behind. Today we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Dedication of the National Grange Building, a historic landmark erected to embody the principals and ideals the National Grange was founded upon.

"Today, the National Grange, the nation's oldest national agricultural organization, represents grassroots chapters established in 2,300 local communities in 38 states. Its 200,000 members provide service to agriculture and rural areas on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable rural America. It was formed in the years following the American Civil War to improve the economic and social position of the American farmers and their families. It also focused on unifying the goals of a nation tired of fighting. Farmlands were devastated by war and the ensuing economic depression. Over the next 143 years the Grange would go on to include non-farm families and communities.

"Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson presided over a ceremony to dedicate the newly erected National Grange Building. It serves as a non-governmental headquarters in our nation's capitol for agricultural and rural families as well as the headquarters to one of the nation's longest continuously operated grassroots government affairs and public interest organizations. Today we re-dedicate this iconic building and commend the National Grange for its years of commitment and service to millions of farm families and rural communities across our nation."

SOURCE: National Grange.