Farmers and Ranchers Storm Capitol Hill in Fierce Opposition to Marshall-Hinson EATS Act
Washington, D.C. — As the U.S. Congress approaches its August recess, farmers and ranchers from the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), Competitive Markets Action (CMA), and members of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, National Dairy Producers Organization, Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, and others, visited Washington, D.C., in attendance at OCM and CMA’s Farm Bill Fly-In and Summit.
Members of the groups came in staunch opposition to the so-called Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, H.R. 4417/S. 2019, led by Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, determined to prevent the measure from marginalizing American family farmers and opening the floodgates to China’s takeover of American agriculture alongside conservative groups like FreedomWorks.
In more than 85 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill, farmers and ranchers not only advocated for the rejection of the EATS Act, but also advocated for the enactment of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, led by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Dina Titus, D-Nev. The measure that would reform and bring transparency to the USDA’s scandal-ridden Commodity Checkoff Programs brought to light by The Daily Caller, Politico, and others.
OCM led the charge in the farming and ranching space to defeat a previous iteration of the EATS Act led by former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from being included in the 2018 Farm Bill led by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and current Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Left to right: Vincent Trometter, Taylor Haynes, Deborah Mills, Jonathan Buttram, Connie Buttram, Cam Ring, Marty Irby, Tom Dierks, and Mike Weaver in front of the U.S. Capitol Dome during the fly-in
“We’re committee to utilizing every resource OCM has at our disposal to prevent the EATS Act from becoming law and preventing the Chinese from taking over American food production,” said Taylor Haynes, President at the Organization for Competitive Markets and a cattle rancher from Laramie, Wyoming. “Food safety and security should be every Member of Congress’ top priority in 2023, and defeating the EATS Act as well as achieving checkoff reform are at the top of the list to ensure it.”
“If EATS is included in the upcoming Farm Bill, it’ll mark the end of American family farming as we know it,” said Deborah Mills, Chairwoman of the National Dairy Producers Organization and a Board Director at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “We must fight this hostile takeover with everything we have – it’s clear from China Weekly’s recent commentary that the Hinson-Marshall EATS Act is China’s baby.”
“We’ve only just begun our campaign and have so much more to come – the Chinese, Smithfield, and so-called National Pork Producers Council better get ready,” said Marty Irby, President at Competitive Markets Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “The nullification of laws enacted by State Legislatures in all fifty states and ballot measures enacted by the will of American voters is a terrible assault on states’ rights and the American family farmers who have spent millions of dollars complying with the law.”
“It’s a damn shame to see my Senator Roger Marshall sell out Kansans to help increase profits for Chinese-owned corporations like Smithfield,” said Mike Schultz, founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, and Vice-President at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Our elected officials and their staff need to remember they work for us – the American taxpayer – and not the other way around. I was disappointed to have been met with such resistance by Marshall’s staff in our recent meeting on Capitol Hill. If Marshall won’t back down on EATS I do hope he’ll at least do something for Kansas farmers and cosponsor the OFF Act to achieve checkoff reform.”
“I’m grateful my elected officials from Alabama and their team members took the time to hear our concerns, and treat us with such great respect during our visit,” said Jonathan Buttram, President of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association and Board Treasurer at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Farmers in the Yellowhammer State are the backbone of our economy and must be protected from the China-backed EATS Act’s hostile takeover of our industry.”
“Producers across the nation are rallying against the EATS Act, and we will continue to stand strong on the front lines in the war the leaders of EATS have launched against American family farmers,” said Mike Weaver, Past President of the Contract Poultry Growers of the Virginias, and a Board Director at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “We must continue to work to enact the OFF Act and achieve checkoff reform – it is critical to our survival and one of the key reasons OCM was started back in the 1990’s.”
OCM Members in front their billboard truck on Capitol Hill during the July fly-in
In June, OCM and CMA launched a campaign against the EATS Act that centers the opposition of family poultry, pork, and dairy farms as well as independent cattle ranchers. Specifically, it highlights their concern that Chinese interests are not solely focused on land rights; they are aggressively acquiring entire agricultural companies, posing a significant threat to our farming sovereignty.
The campaign has to date included ad buys in Politico Morning and Weekly Ag for three full weeks in June and one full week in July, as well as ad buys that included a takeover of The Daily Caller’s homepage five times as well as radio ads in key Congressional Districts, and a billboard truck on Capitol Hill, the last half of July that’ll be returning for the full month of September and beyond. The ads encourage voters to contact their elected officials and ask them to vote no on any Farm Bill that contains the EATS Act. OCM and CMA plan to continue the ad campaign throughout the course of 2023 until the Farm Bill is finalized and enacted.
Enacting the Hinson/Marshall Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act via the Farm Bill would eliminate hundreds of state agricultural laws, effectively paving the way for even more foreign intrusion without guardrails. This absence of rules, particularly those that support American family farmers and ranchers, would create an environment in which large Chinese corporations like Smithfield Foods and others can easily expand across all 50 states without having to comply with state laws that protect rural communities, American farming families, and consumers.
The OFF Act, first introduced prior to the 2018 Farm Bill would create a system of checks and balances within USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs, prohibit checkoffs from utilizing tax-payer dollars to lobby against farmers’ best interests, and prohibit disparagement of one product of another – a practice that’s long-allowed the federal government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.
Deborah Bills, Taylor Haynes, and CMA’s Director of Government Affairs Vincent Trometter, walk the Halls of Congress following a meeting in the U.S. Senate
The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The foundation of the Organization for Competitive Markets is to fight for competitive markets in agriculture for farmers, ranchers and rural communities. 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.
Competitive Markets Action (CMA) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit based in Washington, D.C., that was formed with the mission of shaping policy to promote more regenerative and sustainable agriculture, and competitive markets in the U.S., and to defend against attacks on states’ rights by the federal government. CMA works to raise awareness of the harm caused by multinational conglomerates to the American family farmer, the consumer and our U.S. economy as a whole in an effort to bring about legislative and regulatory reforms.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2023
Contact: Marty Irby