This week, the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association was one of several groups that participated in a rally in Washington, D.C., as meetings on the Farm Bill continued.
The groups opposed the "Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act and advocated for the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act.
"As a proud American and lifelong producer, I'm elated to see our members rally and rise up to defeat industrial agriculture and their backers in China on a level never seen before," said Jonathan Buttram, president of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association and treasurer at the Organization for Competitive Markets. "The industrial agriculture mafia is petrified of our work and the OFF Act because they see the writing on the wall and we hope they soon meet the same fate as New York's infamous 'Five Families.'"
The EATS Act, by U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), is meant to preserve the right of states to regulate agriculture within their jurisdiction, free from interference from other states. However, a study from Harvard Law School showed the legislation could be harmful to animals and consumers and strip states and localities of their rights.
The study has consumer safety organizations, animal rights organizations, and farmer and rancher supporters coming out against the proposal.
"If EATS is included in the upcoming Farm Bill, it will 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 exactly what the Chinese Communist Party wants to see enacted to help them takeover American agriculture."
The Organization for Competitive Markets said that not allowing local regulations could also open the door for foreign-owned corporations, such as Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, to open in all states without having to comply with local laws.
The OFF Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) "would reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's scandal-ridden Commodity Checkoff Programs by requiring transparency so farmers are able to see where the tax dollars they pay are being spent; would prohibit anti-competitive practices in the marketplace like the use of slogans such as 'Pork the Other White Meat;' and would codify a Supreme Court decision that prohibits checkoffs from utilizing funds for lobbying purposes," the Competitive Markets Action (CMA) stated.
CMA added, "Checkoffs have long-lobbied for harmful policies like the repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) that have decimated American family farmers and cattle prices."
"American family farmers are in peril and are fighting for their livelihoods under assault by the Hinson-Marshall EATS Act and its backers in China," said Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action and Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. "The gloves are off and groups like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council that have long-hijacked the voice of independent producers are finally being exposed for what they truly are – puppets of the Chinese government and multi-national conglomerates like Smithfield. The American Family Farmer Nation is finally rising up."
The Organization for Competitive Markets, CMA, and Kansas Cattlemen's Association, National Dairy Producers Organization, American Grassfed Association and others joined in the rallies. They also met with U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn).
The current Farm Bill will expire on September 30.
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