We build a robust and reliable collective that holds the government accountable to principles of transparent, competitive markets and corrects imbalances of power in the agricultural sector.
Packers and Stockyards Act Reform
OCM is building collective power in support of marketplace safeguards that would strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act). For decades, the government honored its role in safeguarding transparency and competitivity in the agricultural marketplace. In 1921, in an attempt to right the market and to ensure consumers and farmers were treated fairly, the U.S. Congress passed the P&S Act. With the enforcement of this new law, by 1976, the Big Four meatpacking companies only controlled about 25% of the market. Unfortunately, since then, the government has reneged on its responsibilities. The courts narrowed the enforcement ability of the P&S Act, and by the mid-90s, the Big Four meatpacking companies controlled about 80% of the market. We are working to create a world where family farmers and their rural communities thrive, where government works for the people and not corporations, and family farmers and finally have the political, economic and social power to push back against transnational corporations.
Break Up Monopolistic Meatpacker JBS
OCM has led an effort to shed light on the abusive practices of world’s largest meatpacker, JBS. We educate our elected officials and help the press research and report on the true face of this corporate behemoth. JBS has grown from a single small slaughterhouse in Brazil to a meat processing monopoly who uses unjust market moves to drive farmers and ranchers out of business, who disregards public health and safety by forcing the worldwide trade of rotten meat, and who lines its pockets while gouging the consumers at the retail grocery and destroying the Amazon forest. It’s time to strip JBS of its illicit gain and split the company up.
Moratorium on Food and Ag Mega-Mergers
OCM supported the drafting of the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018. The proposed federal legislation would place an 18-month moratorium on large agribusiness, food and beverage manufacturing, and grocery retail mergers and acquisitions and would establish a commission to review mergers, concentration and market power in those sectors. Now that the legislation is filed in Congress, we are focused on the important work of building advocacy power to counter the undue influence of special interests in government and support the passage of the legislation through the House and Senate. The government must own its role in safeguarding transparency and competitivity in the agricultural marketplace.
Checkoff Program Reform
OCM has long been a leader in the effort to reform the federal commodity checkoff programs which lack transparency and accountability to the farmers and ranchers mandated to pay into the programs. Our campaign takes a three-pronged approach, working through litigation, federal legislation, and advocating for state level reforms. OCM is the plaintiff in a lawsuit calling for the release of beef checkoff program spending information that is being withheld by the government on behalf of industry special interests. We are also advocating for federal legislation that would reform the federal checkoff programs to prohibit lobbying, rein in conflicts of interest, and stop anti-competitive activities. Finally, OCM is leading a call on State Auditors, Attorneys General and Budget Committees to audit the federal beef checkoff dollars at the state level. Once again, we call on the government to free itself from the undue influence of special interests and own its role in safeguarding transparency and competitivity in the agricultural marketplace.
Country of Origin Labeling
OCM is working for the reinstatement of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and to ensure honest use of the voluntary “Product of U.S.A.” label. In 2018, OCM and the American Grassfed Association filed a petition with the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure only U.S. domestic meat products could be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” By upholding a loose legal definition of “Product of U.S.A.” the government disregards consumer rights for transparency. Further, the government deprives producers of the ability to honestly differentiate their products, which gives transnational companies yet one more tool to toughen their stranglehold on the market. We’ve committed to the hard work of dismantling the undue power of transnational companies over our farms and our communities.