Farmers and Ranchers Rally Against the Marshall-Hinson EATS Act in Washington, D.C.

Farmers and Ranchers Rally Against the Marshall-Hinson EATS Act in Washington, D.C.

Farmers and ranchers from various agricultural organizations, including the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Competitive Markets Action (CMA), gathered in Washington, D.C., to voice their strong opposition to the Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, H.R. 4417/S. 2019. Led by Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, the EATS Act has been criticized for potentially marginalizing American family farmers and opening the door to foreign control of American agriculture, particularly by Chinese interests.

The groups of farmers and ranchers held over 85 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill, advocating not only for rejecting the EATS Act but also for enacting the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, aimed at reforming the USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs.

The opposition to the EATS Act is centered around concerns that it would eliminate hundreds of state agricultural laws, paving the way for foreign intrusion without proper regulations. Critics argue that this lack of rules would create an environment where large foreign corporations could expand across all 50 states without complying with state laws designed to protect rural communities, American farming families, and consumers. “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. The campaign against the EATS Act has included various advertising efforts, encouraging voters to contact their elected officials and ask them to vote against any Farm Bill containing the EATS Act.

In contrast, the OFF Act, supported by various senators and representatives, seeks to create a system of checks and balances within USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs, according to a statement by OCM & CMA. It aims to prohibit using taxpayer dollars to lobby against farmers’ interests and prevent the disparagement of one product over another. The Organization for Competitive Markets and Competitive Markets Action have been at the forefront of this effort, working to shape policy to promote more sustainable agriculture and competitive markets in the U.S. The battle over these legislative measures highlights the ongoing tension and complexity in American agricultural policy, reflecting broader debates about the role of government, states’ rights, and the influence of multinational conglomerates on the American farming industry.

Image provided by OCM

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