Convention in Missouri follows OCM Summit in D.C. Against EATS Act, in Support of Checkoff Reform
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, July 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- KANSAS CITY, MO – On Friday and Saturday, Members of the Organization for Competitive Markets , met in the Heart of America, for the group’s annual conference focused on concerns with 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, mRNA vaccines, and the anti-trust issues surrounding multinational conglomerate packers like the Chinese-owned Smithfield, Brazil-based JBS, Tyson, and Cargill. The group also rallied around 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, and the draft Agriculture Marketing Protection (AMP) Act. The OCM conference comes on the heels of OCM's Farm Bill Summit and fly-in to Washington, D.C. the prior week.
Members of OCM joined the conference from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, California, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. The annual Helmuth Award – OCM’s highest honor named in remembrance of OCM’s late co-founder John Helmuth was awarded to OCM’s decades-long office manager Pat Craycraft from Lincoln, Neb. at the Friday night banquet.
OCM’s general membership meeting held on Saturday saw the reelection of Board Directors Jonathan Buttram from Albertville, Ala., Craig Vejraska from Omak, Wash., Mike Weaver who hails from Fort Seybert, W.V., and Mike Schultz of Brewster, Kansas as well as the reelection of the 2023 officers by unanimous consent with no opposition. Taylor Haynes of Laramie, Wyoming will continue to serve as President, Schultz as Vice-President, Marty Irby of Washington, D.C., as Secretary, and Buttram as Treasurer.
“I’m honored to be selected to serve as President of OCM for a second term and appreciate the membership’s confidence in our leadership,” said Taylor Haynes, President of OCM, and founder of Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming. “We’ve made great strides over the past year and I’m especially encouraged by the launch of our latest campaign against the terrible Marshall-Hinson EATS Act. Furthermore, I applaud the decades of work dedicated to the organization by Pat Craycraft, and congratulate her on receiving the Helmuth Award this year – OCM’s highest honor.”
“Many thanks to the members of OCM for giving me the opportunity to serve as Vice-President for another year,” said Mike Schultz, Vice-President at OCM and founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. “The groundswell of support for our position on the major farm bill issues we witnessed last week in our Nation’s Capital was tremendously encouraging, and OCM is now in a stronger position than we’ve ever been.”
“I am deeply humbled and honored that the membership has given me the opportunity to serve as board Secretary for a second term,” said Marty Irby, Secretary at OCM and President at Competitive Markets Action who is leading the group’s lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. “If the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association thinks their recent slanderous personal attacks are working for them, they’re dumber than I thought. They’ve only motivated me to work twice as hard to defeat the EATS Act and see the enactment of the OFF Act that would bring reforms to the scandal-ridden checkoffs who use family farmers’ own money to put them out of business and give favor to multinational conglomerates in China and Brazil.”
“What I witnessed last week in Washington was the most encouraging moment in my 22 years of visiting Capitol Hill and I believe OCM is changing the game for producers and giving Big Ag a run for the money they’ve robbed from us,” said Jonathan Buttram, OCM Treasurer and President of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association. “Our finances are in great shape and we have the opportunity to make greater change and have more impact than we ever have in the upcoming Farm Bill – I appreciate the membership’s confidence in reelecting me to serve another term.”
“It’s time to end the corruption within the beef checkoff and others and I believe the OFF Act that would achieve that end continues to see more support than ever,” said Dave Wright, OCM board Director and a former member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board who witnessed the corruption first-hand. “Our most sincere thanks goes out to Pat Craycraft for her tireless work – there’s no living person more deserving of the Helmuth Award.”
Speakers at the conference included the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Senior Advisor on Competitive Markets to Secretary Tom Vilsack, Andy Green, who spoke about upcoming regulations at USDA and seed industry and patenting concerns with living organisms; former U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Tex ., who discussed the EATS Act; Chip Perrin of the Coastal Plains Meat Company ; Dave Carter USDA; Todd Vowell of Vowell’s Markets; Lamar Steiger Consultant; and Todd Clemons of Okeechobee Livestock who presented on the developing Southeastern independent beef Supply chain.
Other business included the movement to launch small processing plants to compete with the big four packers in the Southeastern U.S. brought up by founder Fred Stokes from Meridian, Miss.; various membership fees and categories within the organization; OCM’s September Fly-In to Washington, D.C.; the establishment of OCM’s 501 (c)(4) affiliate Competitive Markets Action; and the breakdown and details about funding OCM has raised to help prevent the inclusion of EATS in the upcoming Farm Bill. A motion was made by member Connie Buttram from Albertville, Ala., to have board Secretary Marty Irby oversee public correspondence to OCM’s email membership list, social media, and public-facing communication under the oversight of the Executive Committee. Vice-President Mike Schultz also addressed the international discussion focused on CO2 emissions in American agriculture and the slanted messaging he’s seen from that movement. OCM Board Director and former Cattlemen’s Beef Board Member Dave Wright from Neligh, Nebraska, brought up the issue of continued scandals within the USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs and OCM’s work to pass the OFF Act.
In June, OCM 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 organization, along with other groups, continue to work to achieve checkoff reform so family farmers can stay afloat, and has been a leader on the OFF Act since it was first introduced as a previous iteration in 2016. The latest developments and scandals uncovered within the USDA checkoffs presented to Congress and the Biden Administration can be found here.
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.
Marty Irby Competitive Markets Action 202-821-5686 firstname.lastname@example.org