2018 in Review

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As 2018 draws to a close, OCM members and supporters should be proud of the successes we have gained together through our hard work and dedication. Our 20th year has clearly been one of our most impactful yet. Here’s why:

OCM’s 20th Annual Food & Agriculture Conference

  • We celebrated our 20th anniversary with a highly successful annual conference in Kansas City, MO. Speakers included Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra and Dr. Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union for Concerned Scientists.
  • We welcomed twice as many participants as last year with a broader and more diverse group of food and agriculture leaders.
  • Focusing on regulatory and statutory changes, antitrust and consumer protection litigation, and regenerative agriculture on the farm gave those attending our conference a wide spectrum of information on issues and solutions. See some of the presentations here.

Progress on Antitrust Policy

  • We worked with Senator Booker and Representative Pocan to draft The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018, which, if enacted, would establish an 18-month moratorium on mega-mergers and a commission to review concentration, mergers, and market power across the food and agriculture sectors.
  • We launched a new series of policy briefs on consolidation and the American family farm on a state-by-state basis. Briefs are now available for Missouri, North Dakota, and Ohio and are being used as the basis for state-level reforms.

Trade Policy Advancements

  • We led a successful campaign to block Congressman Steve King’s effort to strip states’ rights when it comes to the ability to regulate agriculture and food trade within a state. King’s disastrous legislation was removed from the final version of the Farm Bill before passage.
  • To stop the flood of imported beef being labeled “Product of U.S.A.” OCM and American Grassfed Association filed a petition with USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service demanding that meat products bearing this label only be from the U.S. and not just packaged or processed here. We await a decision from the agency.

Fighting to End Industrialized Agriculture’s Abuse of Checkoff Dollars

  • We worked for meaningful checkoff program reform to be included in the Farm Bill to curb the rampant abuses of the $800,000,000 in commodity checkoff programs. Our amendment was one of only a few allowed a vote on the Senate floor. Although it did not pass, the strong showing of bipartisan support, including sponsorship by Senators Lee, Booker, Paul, Hassan and Warren, left us ever more committed to continuing our efforts to bring justice to the checkoff programs. See how your Senators voted.
  • In our four-year long, ongoing FOIA lawsuit, USDA was forced to explain to the court why it will not release government audit documents and financial records related to the Beef Checkoff Program. The case has begun its summary judgment phase with a court decision expected in early Spring 2019 as to whether checkoff records must be released to the public.
  • Because the beef checkoff is collected and administered at the state level, we took on the most egregious state abuses highlighting how in Ohio, the beef checkoff fund was underwriting the state’s cattlemen’s association, being used to push for political candidates and leaving thousands of dollars in checkoff funds unaccounted for. Thus far we have been successful in gaining reforms on some of these issues.

New Campaign to Reform the Farm-to-Institution Market

  • The three largest cafeteria operators in North America—Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group—purchase billions of dollars worth of food every year, most of which comes from big food corporations that lock family farmers and ranchers out of the market. OCM is a founding member of the Community Coalition for Real Meals and its Real Meals Campaign. With a broad group of partners, we are urging these foodservice giants to move their business models away from a system of exclusive relationships with big food corporations to deliver what students are demanding in the way of good food from local farmers and ranchers.

Together, we made this happen. Building on this momentum, our 21st anniversary year can prove to be even better. Will you join the fight? Please consider becoming a member or making a year-end donation to OCM today. Thank you for all you do.

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