U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie Honored with Leadership Award by Competitive Markets Groups

Farmers and Ranchers applaud Massie for his work to address corruption at USDA’s scandal-ridden checkoff programs

LOUISVILLE, KY, Feb. 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Competitive Markets Action (CMA), recently announced the recipients of their 2023 Congressional Awards and honored U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, with their Leadership Award for his work to reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Commodity Checkoff Programs.  

Massie was joined by Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-IN, in leading a House Appropriations Amendment in September of 2023 that would have temporarily halted the corruption within USDA’s commodity checkoff programs by cutting off funding until a USDA OIG Audit on the programs could be completed. President Joe Biden's USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has been at the center of checkoff controversy as he has directly benefited from millions of checkoff dollars funneled into his own personal coffers, and a salary of nearly $1 million per year from Dairy Management, Inc., following his eight years as President Barack Obama's USDA Secretary, before being reappointed by Biden. 

Massie also cosponsored the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, led by Rep. Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, and Rand Paul, R-KY, that would reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s scandal-ridden checkoff programs that have been plagued by unethical and illegal activities for decades. This measure is backed by more than 200,000 farmers and ranchers across the country and groups like FreedomWorks, the American Grassfed Association, Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, American Taxpayers Union, the Heritage Foundation, as well as Reps. Spartz, Alex Mooney, R-WV, and Mike Lawler, R-NY. 

Rep. Massie is also the lead sponsor the bipartisan Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, H.R. 2814, with 54 House cosponsors, that would exempt custom animal slaughter facilities from burdensome federal regulations for distribution and processing of meats within the state. PRIME is supported by the Competitive Markets Groups, FreedomWorks, and other conservative and farming organizations across the America and is opposed by the so-called National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other interests that have helped consolidate meat processing in the U.S. under foreign control.

"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."

“We are grateful Rep. Massie has the courage and guts to stand up to industrial agriculture interests in China and Brazil and the multinational conglomerates that currently control our food supply,” said Michael Pape, a Member of the Organization for Competitive Markets who resides in Hopkinsville, KY. “Congress needs more leaders like Thomas Massie and we call on House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders to include checkoff reform in the upcoming Farm Bill.”

“We applaud Rep. Massie for his 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 Rep. Massie for his tremendous work to reform USDA’s scandal-ridden checkoff programs. As a beef producer and cattleman, Massie understands how deep the corruption in Washington’s swampy checkoff slush funds runs,” said Marty Irby, President & CEO at Competitive Markets Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Massie has seen first-hand how the National Cattlemen's Beef Association lobbied against the best interests of American family farmers who pay into the till and the terrible repercussions from checkoff dollars being used to lobby for the repeal of Country-of-Origin-Labeling and other policies that continue to put our farmers out of business.”

“As a proud American and lifelong producer, I proudly applaud Rep. Massie for being 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. “The industrial agriculture mafia is petrified of our work with Rep. Massie because they see the writing on the wall and we hope they soon meet the same fate as New York’s infamous ‘Five Families.’”

OCM and CMA also conducted its third fly-in since July of 2023 to Washington, D.C. this month and engaged in nearly 90 meetings in support of the OFF Act, checkoff reform, and against the EATS Act, H.R. 4417/S. 2019, during those events.

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.


Rep. Thomas Massie

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