Farmers fighting for a fairer farm bill gathered in Guntersville recently to discuss agriculture policies and urge Congress to approve legislation giving power back to producers.

The event was part of the Enough is Enough Tour, which has held similar meetings in other states to give farmers and ranchers a voice in calling for an end to government policies that favor the largest food industry giants.

Several of the event's speakers discussed how current federal laws favor "Big Agriculture," which allows the biggest players to virtually monopolize the industry, and how government checkoff programs, which collect $1 billion from producers each year, lead to corruption with industry lobbying firms.

"We call on Congress to bring reform and transparency to USDA's scandal-ridden Commodity Checkoff Programs by passing the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act that would give American family farmers a fighting chance against industrial agriculture interests like the Chinese-owned Smithfield, and Brazil-based JBS," said Jonathan Buttram, president of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association and treasurer at the Organization for Competitive Markets who is also a beef cattle producer.

In addition to supporting OFF, speakers also discussed opposing the Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act.

"Congress must do everything in its power to help strike the terrible EATS Act language included in House Farm Bill that would decimate producers across the U.S. and nullify countless state and local laws designed to protect small and midsized farmers," said Marty Irby, president at Competitive Markets Action, and secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets, who is a native Alabamian from Mobile. "Policies that protect food safety and security and supporting states' rights should be a top priority for Agriculture Committee leaders instead of propping up industrial agriculture interests run by our foreign enemies."

According to a press release from the event, "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) included a version of the EATS Act that doesn't include eggs in the recent Farm Bill that passed the Committee last month. OCM, CMA, ALCPGA, and others are working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and the House Freedom Caucus preparing for an amendment on the House floor that would strip the bad EATS language out."

The 2024 farm bill passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in late May, but it remains uncertain if or when it will pass the House and Senate. The 2018 farm bill, or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, was set to expire in 2023. However, it has been extended through September 30 of this year.

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