Competitive Markets Groups Announce Congressional Award Winners, Legislator of the Year

Competitive Markets Action

Thu, Feb 15, 2024, 1:29 PM MST8 min read

Farmers and Ranchers applaud Members for their work to defeat the EATS Act and enact legislation to address checkoff corruption

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV

CMA President & OCM Secretary Marty Irby presents the Competitive Markets Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Alex Mooney alongside Vinnie Trometter
CMA President & OCM Secretary Marty Irby presents the Competitive Markets Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Alex Mooney alongside Vinnie Trometter

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Competitive Markets Action (CMA), publicly announced the recipients of their 2023 Congressional Leadership Awards and their Competitive Markets Legislator of the Year Award recipient, U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV.

The groups measured recognition by three actions in the U.S. House: Leaders of a letter to the House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Ranking Member with staunch opposition to the terrible so-called Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, H.R. 4417, led by Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-IA, that would nullify more than a thousand state and local laws that provide certainty and security in the marketplace for independent family farmers and ranchers. Those who received the award include Reps. Andrew Garbarino, R-NY, David Valadao, R-CA, Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Michael Waltz, R-FL.

Leaders of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, that would reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s scandal-ridden commodity checkoff programs that have been plagued by unethical and illegal activities for decades. Recipients include Reps. Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Dina Titus, D-NV, in the House, and Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, Rand Paul, R-KY, Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, in the Senate.

Leaders of a House Appropriations Amendment that would temporarily halt the corruption within USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs by cutting off funding until a USDA OIG Audit on the programs is completed: Reps. Victoria Spartz, R-IN, and Thomas Massie, R-KY, who are both cosponsors of the OFF Act as well.

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV, was selected as the Competitive Markets overall Legislator of the Year for 2023. Mooney was the only Member of Congress who supported each of the three legislative initiatives as a signor of the House letter against EATS, and a cosponsor of the OFF Act who voted in support of the Spartz-Massie checkoff amendment last year. Last month, Mooney also led a House letter to Agriculture Committee leaders against increasing crop reference prices in the upcoming Farm Bill in which he was joined by Reps. Andy Ogles, R-TN, Brian Mast, R-FL, Carol Miller, R-WV, Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Andy Biggs, R-AZ that was supported by the groups.

Quotes from the Members of Congress:

“I’m honored to be named the Competitive Markets Legislator of the Year in Congress. I am committed to keeping West Virginia family farms in the hands of our hard-working American producers,” said Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-WV, who was named Legislator of the Year for 2023. “Keeping our food supply safe from a Communist Chinese takeover is one of the most critical issues facing our country.”

“American farmers and their families demand leaders with the courage to boldly defy the status quo. We stand resolute, unwavering in our refusal to be swayed by the immense power wielded by industrial agribusiness and corporate giants,” said Rep. Nancy Mace, R-SC. “The time for unwavering conviction and decisive action is now.”

“I’m proud to receive the Competitive Markets Leadership Award for my work to improve federal oversight of the agriculture industry,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-NV. “I am committed to promoting antitrust provisions in the Farm Bill that deter anti-competitive practices by Big Ag and keep independent producers in business. My legislation, the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, would rein in the corruption we’ve seen consistently in checkoff programs. Although it has been an uphill battle since introducing the bill in 2017, we’ve never been closer to the finish line. I strongly urge House Agriculture Committee leadership to include my legislation in the upcoming Farm Bill to protect the interests of independent farmers, ranchers, and producers around the country.”

“I am grateful for this recognition by the Organization for Competitive Markets and Competitive Markets Action and am committed to ensuring American family farmers have a voice in Washington, D.C. that understands how the USDA’s Commodity Checkoff Programs have coopted producers and used their own money against them,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY. “The number of independent farmers and ranchers that feed our nation is swiftly dwindling due to lobbying activities the checkoff programs and multinational conglomerates engage in and we must bring reform in order to keep our food supply safe from a complete takeover by Chinese and Brazilian industrial agriculture interests.”

“I’m honored to be recognized by such a wide array of American family farmers who keep our country fed,” said Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-NY. “The EATS Act would directly harm producers who practice more humane, sustainable, and regenerative agriculture and to the safety and security of our food supply. House Agriculture Committee leadership should deliver a bipartisan Farm Bill that helps keep family farmers in business instead of shutting them down.”

“It’s an honor to receive the Competitive Markets Leadership Award from Competitive Markets Action for promoting transparency around commodity checkoff programs,” said Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-IN. “As a farmer myself, I understand the challenges small farmers and ranchers face, and I am committed to advancing competition in agriculture.”

Quotes from Competitive Markets’ Leaders, Farmers, and Ranchers:

“We applaud each of these Members of Congress for their tireless work, tremendous leadership, and intestinal fortitude in standing up to Chinese interests and multinational conglomerates who continue to further consolidate American agriculture,” said Taylor Haynes, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets and Founder of the Wyoming Independent Cattlemen’s Association. “If Agriculture Committee leaders want to get a Farm Bill done in 2024 they’d be wise to jettison any language that nullifies state and local agriculture laws and include a provision to reform USDA’s swampy checkoff slush funds.”

“We applaud these courageous Members of Congress for their leadership and for going against the grain by pushing back against the leaders of EATS, the USDA’s scandal-ridden commodity checkoff programs, and China’s continuous attempts to takeover American agriculture,” said Marty Irby, president at Competitive Markets Action and board secretary of the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Industrial agribusiness interests like the so-called National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and multinational conglomerates such as Smithfield have turned far too many of our hard-working farm families into modern-day indentured servants and we’re amidst an uprising in the farm world Agri-Big Brother never seen before.”

“As a proud American and lifelong producer, I proudly applaud these legislators that are committed to defeating Big Ag’s Chinese and Brazilian backers that threaten our food supply,” said Jonathan Buttram, Treasurer at the Organization for Competitive Markets, and President of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association and. “The industrial agriculture mafia is petrified of our work because they see the writing on the wall and we hope they soon meet the same fate as New York’s infamous ‘Five Families.’”

“Since the inception of the checkoff programs, illegal relationships between checkoff boards and lobbying organizations have continued and I’d bet they are illegally using our money to lobby for the enactment of EATS, the greatest threat we’ve seen in a decade,” said Mike Schultz, founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, and Vice-President at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Independent farmers in Kansas applaud these Congressional heroes and hope to see our U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall shift toward helping his constituents instead of pandering to China and the industrial ag interests that line his campaign coffers.”

“I applaud these tremendous leaders in Congress and our legislator of the year Rep. Alex Mooney for working to help American family farmers and protect our food supply from globalists who’ve sold our country out for a quick buck,” said Mike Weaver, a Past President at the Organization for Competitive Markets and Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias and current OCM board member.

In June, OCM and CMA launched a campaign against the EATS Act that included ad buys in Politico Morning and Weekly Ag for three full weeks in June and one full week in July, a takeover of The Daily Caller’s homepage six times, radio ads in key congressional districts, and a billboard truck on Capitol Hill during 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 2023, or until the Farm Bill is finalized and enacted.

OCM and CMA also conducted its third fly-in since July to Washington, D.C. last week and engaged in nearly 90 meetings on the OFF and EATS Acts during that event. In addition to their grassroots advocacy, CMA is represented on the EATS Act by several lobbying firms including Capitol South, LLC, and Conaway-Graves, led by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-TX.

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.


CONTACT: Marty Irby Competitive Markets Action 202-821-5686