Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is a national, nonprofit, membership-based public policy research and advocacy organization headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. OCM was founded in 1998 by farmers, ranchers, attorneys, agricultural economists, rural sociologists and state legislators to challenge the growing income power disparities between agricultural producers and agribusinesses in the food system. OCM was founded on the premise that independent farmers and ranchers must ultimately survive and prosper by receiving fair and adequate compensation for their products through the marketplace.
The mission of OCM is to work for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, whose likeness graces our masthead, was known as the original Trust Buster. He advocated and enforced the first antitrust laws and fought for true competition and entrepreneurship throughout America. OCM seeks to reinvigorate his legacy of antitrust law and competition policy. Establishing competitive markets in agriculture for farmers, ranchers and rural communities is our goal for America. True competition reduces the need for economic regulation. Our mission, and our duty, is to define and advocate the proper role of government in the agricultural economy as a regulator and enforcer of rules necessary for markets that are fair, honest, accessible and competitive for all citizens.
A major part of OCM’s effort is directed at providing objective, hard-hitting information to the public, the media and policy makers concerning market competition issues. OCM initiates a research and communications program to distribute knowledge and information about true market principles in the American tradition.
OCM sponsors informative conferences and meetings and takes action through collaborative efforts providing resources and action toolkits for allies to use organically in effecting change in policy.
OCM has a regular presence in Washington, D.C., working with Congress and enforcement agencies to make change through legislation, litigation, and education. Current priorities include strengthening antitrust enforcement, restoring Packers and Stockyards Act enforcement, reforming the commodity checkoff programs, reforming the farm-to-institution market, and ensuring trade policy includes Country of Origin Labeling.
About five years ago, with the total number of U.S. farmers and ranchers dropping below 1% of the total U.S. population, OCM came to the realization that there were no longer enough family farmers and ranchers left in America to bring about the policy changes that are necessary for family farmers and rural communities to thrive and for U.S. consumers to have a food system that provided them with choices at a fair price.
Therefore, OCM started a national collaboration. The OCM national collaboration’s goal is to find common ground among unlikely allies, lifting this expanded base of family farmer supporters as one voice against abusive corporate interests and the economic and political stranglehold they have on our markets and government. Since then, OCM has found common ground with labor unions, worker justice organizations, conservationists, and animal welfare organizations. We may not agree with collaborators on every issue, but we find common ground in supporting independent family farmers and ranchers and opposing exploitative corporate monopolies. Together, OCM and its national collaboration are fighting for meaningful checkoff program reform, fair and just food purchasing practices and the restoration of anti-monopoly safeguards in our market.
Members and Supporters
OCM membership is open to anyone who subscribes to its mission. Current members and supporters include producers of cattle, corn, soybeans, wheat, hogs, poultry, vegetables and other crops. OCM membership is not limited to farmers. Consumers are an important part of our support base. Click here to become a member.
How to Label OCM
We are “pro-business” because we believe in free markets and the law of supply and demand to allocate resources properly. We are “conservative” because we believe American values such as honesty and morality should be demanded of our businesses and politicians. We are “liberal” because we believe government has a regulatory role to create and enforce the rules of doing business. We are “populist” because we have determined our nation is made economically and culturally wealthy by preserving the ability of independent families to produce our food without fear of the economically dominant firms in agribusiness.
OCM is committed to the establishment of competitive markets for the exchange of goods and products used in, and produced by, agriculture, by the nation’s farmers and ranchers across the United States. OCM is committed to the concept that true competition reduces the need for economic regulations, and that definition and advocacy for the responsible role in government in the agriculture economy as a regulator and enforcer of rules is necessary to assure that markets are fair, honest, accessible and competitive. This is OCM’s essential work.
OCM is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. OCM is dependent upon the contributions of members and others who share common goals in its interest in fair, open, competitive markets, and the proper role for government as a regulator for those markets. As a matter of policy, OCM shall seek, accept and use funds granted, gifted, or invested in OCM only in ways consistent with fulfillment of its purposes and this policy.
In addition to its members and individual donors, OCM currently receives grant funding from the following nonprofit organizations: Nathan Cummings Foundation, Kirkpatrick Foundation, and Farm Aid. OCM receives pro bono legal representation from Democracy Forward for its Packers & Stockyards Act antitrust lawsuit and The Humane Society of the United States for its beef checkoff program transparency lawsuit.