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Coalition of State Attorneys General Urge Congressional Leadership to Reject the Hinson-Marshall EATS Act in Farm Bill

— October 30, 2023

Farming and Ranching Groups applaud Attorneys General for taking a stand for states’ rights, food safety, and the integrity of American agriculture.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A coalition of Attorneys General, representing 16 states, have submitted a letter to House leaders, Speaker [then]McCarthy, R-CA [now Mike Johnson, R-LA, Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, and Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Mitch McConnel (R-KY), stating their firm opposition to the so-called Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, H.R.4417/S.2019, a proposed federal bill that would undermine the rights of States to regulate agriculture within their jurisdictions and would nullify countless state and local laws.

Leaders of the EATS Act, Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-IA, and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-KS, have positioned the bill as a regulatory solution by reverting to federal overreach. If enacted, the consequences of EATS Act would be dire. The bill would invalidate hundreds of state and local agriculture laws that support family beef, dairy, egg, and pork producers, as well as hundreds of laws related to food safety and invasive pest control.

The Attorneys General’s letter sent a strong message to the Congressional leaders, stating that the EATS Act “is a severe incursion into the rights of States and local governments to regulate agricultural products sold within their jurisdictions, and Congress should soundly reject this invitation.” The letter went on to say, “For over 200 years, States and local governments have been responsible for ensuring that there is a safe and healthy food supply for their consumers, and that farm products sold locally are governed by locally accountable, elected officials. The EATS Act would up-end that crucial balance of federal and state authority.”

Farming and ranching operations across the nation have been sounding the alarm over the EATS Act since its introduction this past June. Groups and associations, including the Organization for Competitive Markets, Competitive Markets Action, the National Dairy Producers Organization, Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association, and American Grassfed Association have been especially outspoken, including two lobbying summits in Washington D.C. to help defeat the measure.

“We applaud the Attorneys General for taking a stand against the EATS Act, which is a direct threat to American agriculture and states’ rights,” said Marty Irby, President at Competitive Markets Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “The potential consequences of the EATS Act are broad and deeply concerning. By undermining farmers, ranchers, and rural control, the bill would erode the bedrock principle of states’ rights.”

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Last month a bipartisan group of 30 U.S. Senators submitted a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership opposing the EATS Act, and a coalition of over 170 U.S. Representatives submitted a letter to U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Pa., and Ranking Member David Scott, R-Ga., citing their opposition to the bill. Following these letters, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, and the National League of Cities also submitted letters, emphasizing the importance of avoiding preempting state level laws regarding agriculture production.

The opposition to the EATS Act, H.R.4417/S.2019, continues to garner widespread and diverse challengers, including conservative think tanks such as Freedom Works and the Heritage Foundation. With the addition of the state Attorneys General representing Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, the bill faces an uphill battle to be included in the Farm Bill.

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.

The Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association (ALCPGA) is a group of independent poultry producers that have come together to find ways of making our industry stronger, more efficient, and more economical. They have implemented an LP Gas program to lower the cost of gas that each producer purchases. This enables the producer to save on their heating bill, and still produce healthy poultry.

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