EATS Act is seeing pushback. Where do we go from here? (Part 2)

by | Aug 8, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

We talked last week with Iowa Senator Joni Ernst about where the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act stands in the Senate. We also talked about the concerns that some are having with the fine print.

One of those groups that is concerned is the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). They have been speaking out against the bill and some of the possible “unintended consequences” that could stem from it. Mike Schultz is Vice President of the OCM and a Kansas cattle producer. He also is a founding member of the Kansas Cattlemen. He tells IARN that even though we may not like it, California did vote to approve Prop 12. He says that we should be working to educate Californians and work towards a voted repeal if that is what we want to see. He says that states do have rights that the Federal government does not need to interfere with. Sometimes it puts us between a rock and a hard place.

He also is a former hog producer that understands what producers need to do to protect our piglets.

Schultz says that many independent farmers have made most of the changes and that the biggest pushbacks are coming back from producers who produce via contract for large companies. He says that by California making these changes, they are leveling the playing field for independent producers who have to fight larger companies like China-Owned Smithfield for a place in the market. Schultz says that it isn’t just in the cattle industry where the packers have too much say.

Schultz talks about his conversation with Kansas Senator Marshall about the EATS Act and where this may be going. He cited other areas where states are already dictating to others on things beyond food. He claims that he has been told that the EATS Act only covers the food industry and that this bill would not protect any other industries from fifty states with fifty rules. This is why the OCM is concerned that this bill is primarily aimed at helping the large packers and conglomerates, whether they are owned by U.S. companies, the government of China, or any other company.

Next time, we will get into the area of the claims made by OCM that China could benefit well from the EATS Act, because of their ownership of companies like Smithfield.