WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 150 Members of the U.S. House joined in sending 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 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 in the Senate.
Two of the leading groups that lobbied the Members of Congress to join the letter include the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), Competitive Markets Action (CMA), as well as members of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, National Dairy Producers Organization, Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, and others. In June, OCM and CMA launched a public campaign against EATS, a measure the groups deem an assault on states’ rights and a gift to Chinese pork conglomerates like Smithfield. Last month, the groups rallied in Washington, D.C., to join in nearly 100 meetings on Capitol Hill , and spoke out against EATS at their annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The groups are determined to prevent the measure from marginalizing American family farmers and opening the floodgates to China’s takeover of American agriculture alongside conservative groups like FreedomWorks, and expect more letters against EATS from Members of the House and Senate to be sent in the coming weeks.
The letter sent today, led by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Earl Blumenauer, R-Ore., included a number of House Agriculture Committee Members like Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., Jim Costa, R-Calif., and other rank and file Members including front liner Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y.
“We write today expressing our strong opposition to the inclusion of H.R. 4417, the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, or any similar legislation in the 2023 Farm Bill,” wrote the Members. “Modeled after former Representative Steve King’s amendment, which was intensely controversial and ultimately excluded from the final 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, the EATS Act could harm America’s small farmers, threaten numerous state laws, and infringe on the fundamental rights of states to establish laws and regulations within their own borders,” they continued.
“We applaud the more than 150 bipartisan Members of the People’s House for standing firmly against the terrible EATS assault on independent family farmers, states’ rights, and the Constitution,” said Marty Irby, President at Competitive Markets Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “We’d be better off sinking the farm bill than seeing one enacted that includes the Hinson-Marshall legislation selling out American agriculture to China.”
“We’re committed to utilizing every resource OCM has at our disposal to prevent the EATS Act from becoming law and preventing the Chinese from taking over American food production,” said Taylor Haynes, President at the Organization for Competitive Markets and a cattle rancher from Laramie, Wyoming.
OCM led the charge in the farming and ranching space to defeat a previous iteration of the EATS Act led by former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from being included in the 2018 Farm Bill led by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and current Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. In recent weeks, even Marshall declared on RFDTV: “We’re getting the heck beat out of us,” on the terrible EATS Act.
“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 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 China’s baby.”
“It’s a damn shame to see the EATS Act leaders sell out Kansans to help increase profits for Chinese-owned corporations like Smithfield,” said Mike Schultz, founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, and Vice-President at the Organization for Competitive Markets.
In June, OCM and CMA 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 campaign has to date included ad buys in Politico Morning and Weekly Ag for three full weeks in June and one full week in July, as well as ad buys that included a takeover of The Daily Caller’s homepage five times as well as radio ads in key Congressional Districts, and a billboard truck on Capitol Hill, the last half of July that’ll be returning for the full month of September and beyond. The ads encourage voters to contact their elected officials and ask them to vote no on any Farm Bill that contains the EATS Act. OCM and CMA plan to continue the ad campaign throughout the course of 2023 until the Farm Bill is finalized and enacted.
Enacting the Hinson/Marshall Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act via the Farm Bill would eliminate hundreds of state agricultural laws, effectively paving the way for even more foreign intrusion without guardrails. This absence of rules, particularly those that support American family farmers and ranchers, would create an environment in which large Chinese corporations like Smithfield Foods and others can easily expand across all 50 states without having to comply with state laws that protect rural communities, American farming families, and consumers.
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.