08/30/17 6:20 AM By Agri-Pulse staff
WASHINGTON, August 30, 2017 – A group called Family Farm Action has been launched to lobby for the interests of family farmers and against “multinational agribusiness monopolies that are destroying rural economies and way of life.”
FFA – not to be confused with the FFA that used to be known as Future Farmers of America – is led by Joe Maxwell, a farmer and former lieutenant governor of Missouri who is the part-time executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and formerly the Humane Society of the United States’ VP of Outreach and Engagement. Organized as a 501(c)(4) group, FFA will be able to lobby federal and state lawmakers. The group also plans to start a Political Action Committee, Maxwell said. FFA hopes to “amplify” the voices of like-minded organizations such as the National Farmers Union and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. FFA also endorses the work of OCM, including its recently report, “Consolidation, Globalization, and the American Family Farm,” which recommends a return to Country of Origin Labeling; increased antitrust enforcement in order to limit mergers; and reform of checkoff programs.
So far, all those involved in the group are working without pay until fundraising ramps up, Maxwell said.Other key FFA members are Tom Rossmeissl, a Wisconsin political strategist who helped found FFA and is now an adviser, and Chairwoman Lillian Salerno, deputy undersecretary for rural development at USDA for 18 months ending in January 2017. Salerno also worked on rural business development at USDA for about three and a half years after the re-election of President Barack Obama.