August 11-13, 2017: 19th Annual Food and Agriculture Conference and Membership Meeting


Join us and learn how you can take action to stop the extinction of America’s family farmers and our traditional agricultural practices.

Embassy Suites Hotel by Hilton – KCI
7640 NW Tiffany Springs Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64153
Book your room by calling (816) 891-7788. The OCM room block is now full, but rooms may still be available at the hotel.

Our Conference Speakers

Dinner Speaker

Wes Jackson
Co-Founder and President Emeritus of The Land Institute

Wes Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kansas Wesleyan, Salina, a master’s degree in botany from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in genetics from North Carolina State University. His writings include Nature as Measure and Consulting the Genius of the Place. New Roots for Agriculture outlines the basis for The Land Institute’s agricultural research.

Life magazine named him as one of 18 individuals they predict will be among the 100 “important Americans of the 20th century.” In 2005 Smithsonian included him as one of “35 Who Made a Difference.”

Wes was a 1990 Pew Conservation Scholar and a 1992 MacArthur Fellow. He has been the recipient of several awards and honors including the Right Livelihood Award (2000), the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Award (2007), the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni Award (2011). And the Garden Club of America Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal (2012).

Opening Keynote

John Ikerd
Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri

John was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent thirty years in various professorial positions at North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri before retiring in early 2000. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on economics and agriculture.

He is author of six books which are available via In 2014, Ikerd was commission by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations to write the regional report, “Family Farms of North America,” in recognition for the International Year of the Family Farming. He currently resides in Fairfield, IA with his wife, Ellen, two dogs, and two cats. More complete background information and a wide selection of writings are available at or

Luncheon Speaker

Lillian Salerno
Chairwoman of Family Farm Action, Former Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, USDA

Lillian Salerno serves as Chairwoman of Family Farm Action, a political organization recently launched aimed at protecting family farms and rural communities. Salerno served the Obama administration as the Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development and former Administrator of Rural Business from 2012-2017. As a former entrepreneur, business owner and small town lawyer, Lillian has dedicated her life creating opportunities for rural economic development and working class families. Lillian has real world experience on the dangers of concentrated power and lack of antitrust enforcement. She understands the unique challenges facing our food systems and family farmers due to the concentration of ownership.

During her tenure at USDA Lillian directed millions of dollars in grants and loans to ag producers and and rural businesses to create jobs, provide clean energy and create economic opportunities against a backdrop of failing rural and agricultural communities. Prior to her service as part of the Administration Salerno successfully founded an advanced manufacturing company which started with a Small Business Innovation Grant, making her a fierce advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Salerno grew up in rural Texas where her manufacturing business continues to thrive and support the local economy. Salerno attained a B.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Lillian resides in Washington DC and North Texas.

Speakers and Panelists

  • John W. Boyd, Jr., President of the National Black Farmers Association
  • Dudley Butler, Farm and Ranch Law Group, PLLC, former Administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
  • Mike Callicrate, OCM Director, owner/operator of Ranch Foods Direct
  • Webster Davis, Chair of the Agriculture Committee for the Missouri Chapter of the NAACP
  • Mike Eby, Chair of the National Dairy Producers Organization
  • Ben Ezzell, Attorney, Enid, OK City Council
  • Andrew Green, Managing Director of Economic Policy at Center for American Progress
  • Allen Grunes, Antitrust Lawyer, Co-Founder of The Konkurrenz Group
  • Greg Gunthorp, 4th generation hog farmer, owner of Gunthorp Farms
  • Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, Author of Foodopoly
  • Mary Hendrickson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
  • Angela Huffman, OCM Director of Communications and Research
  • Barry C. Lynn, Director, Open Markets program, New America Foundation
  • Joe Maxwell, OCM Executive Director
  • Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Dennis Olson, Senior Research Associate, Food & Agricultural Policy at United Food & Commercial Workers International Union
  • Matt Penzer, Special Counsel, Humane Society of the U.S.
  • Anim Steel, Founder of Real Food Generation
  • Fred Stokes, OCM Co-Founder
  • Mike Weaver, OCM President, President of the Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias


Friday, August 11, 2017

11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Press Conference: Launch of a New Political Advocacy Organization; Release of OCM’s 2017 Policy Report

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Invocation, Judy Heffernan, Secretary
Welcome, Mike Weaver, President

Session 1: The Lay of the Land

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm
Opening Keynote: Feeding the World Intelligently — Without Corporate Agriculture
Speaker: John Ikerd
Americans are led to believe that industrial agriculture will be essential to provide enough food for a growing global population and that corporate investments will be essential to spread industrial agriculture around the world. Instead, the rest of the world doesn’t need or want our industrial approach to farming, and multinational corporations are the greatest threat to future global food security. To feed the world intelligently, the international community must find the courage to thwart a hostile takeover of the global food system by transnational corporations.

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
The Problem of Market Concentration
Panelists: Wenonah Hauter, Barry Lynn, Lillian Salerno
Moderator: Angela Huffman
There’s never been so much money in the food system, and so little going to the farmer and rancher and remaining in the rural community. This panel will give a 101 on concentration in agriculture and how it affects all of us.

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
(Sponsored by Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn.)

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Markets, Power, Democracy and Food
Speaker: Mary Hendrickson

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Regional and Local Marketplace for Producers
Panelists: Anim Steel, Greg Gunthorp, Mike Callicrate, Mike Eby
Moderator: Mike Weaver
Following the family farm crisis of the 80s, family farmers began to move to other “alternative” markets. This session will focus on the market barriers that will limit family farmers opportunities from using this strategy.

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
VIP Recognition Reception with Cash Bar
(Sponsors: Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn. and United Food and Commercial
Workers International Union)

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
David Defeated Goliath: A Message for Us?
Speaker: Wes Jackson
(Sponsors: Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn., Union of Concerned Scientists,
and The Humane Society of the United States)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Session 2: Deep Dive

8:30 am – 9:45 am
Economic Impact on Rural Communities and Main Streets
Speakers: Wenonah Hauter, Andy Green

9:45 am – 10:00 am
(Sponsored by Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn.)

10:00 am – 11:00 am
Economic Impact on Rural Communities and Main Streets: Individual Community Perspectives
Panelists: Web Davis, Stacy Mitchell, Ben Ezzell
Moderator: Joe Maxwell

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Threat of Recent and Pending Agribusiness Mergers: Deep Dive into Bayer+Monsanto and Impact on Family Farmers
Panelists: John Boyd, Jr., Mike Weaver, Allen Grunes
Moderator: Joe Maxwell

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
Video: Farmers Stand Up: Tractorcade Protest of 1978-1979, By Henry Marks
Want to Rescue Rural America? Bust Monopolies
Speaker: Lillian Salerno
(Sponsored by Family Farm Action and Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn.)

Session 3: Taking Action to Restore Family Farm Agriculture

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Make Them Pay: Defunding Our Opponents
Call to Action: Demand Checkoff Program Reform
Speaker: Angela Huffman

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Taking Action Through the Courts
Speakers: Fred Stokes, Matt Penzer, Dudley Butler

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
(Sponsored by Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Assn.)

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Good Food Purchasing Policy
Speaker: Dennis Olson

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Reversing the “Efficiency Rule” Era of Antitrust Interpretation
Call to Action: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
Speaker: Joe Maxwell

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Taking Action on Agribusiness Mergers and Acquisitions
Speaker: Angela Huffman

Sunday, August 13, 2017

8:00 am
OCM Membership Meeting


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