U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Honored with Leadership Award by Competitive Markets Groups

Farmers, Ranchers, Cattlemen, and Distillers applaud Paul for his work to help American producers

BOWLING GREEN, KY, March 19, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recently, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Competitive Markets Action (CMA), honored U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, with their Competitive Markets Leadership Award for 2023. Paul was honored for his work to reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Commodity Checkoff Programs, for helping American family farmers localize meat processing, and his support of competitive markets in the United States. 
Paul is one of the leaders of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, in the Senate where he’s worked in bipartisan fashion alongside Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, as well as Reps. Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Dina Titus, D-NV, to 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 Heritage Foundation, Farm Action, National Taxpayers Union, American Grassfed Association, as well as fellow Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie, who cosponsored the House bill, and led a House checkoff reform amendment in 2023. 
OFF would reform the checkoff programs by bringing transparency and requiring the programs be audited for compliance; by prohibiting disparagement of one product over another and picking winners and losers in the marketplace; and by prohibiting checkoffs from contracting with lobbying entities. 
The campaign to reform the checkoff programs has also brought more light to controversy surrounding President Joe Biden's USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, D-IA, who 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 to the same post by Biden. 
Sen. Paul is also the lead Republican sponsor of the bipartisan Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, H.R. 2814/S. 907, alongside Sen. Angus King, I-ME, Massie, and others, 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 America.
“We applaud Sen. Paul for his work to help bring reform to the USDA’s checkoff programs so each and every dairy producer in America that pays into the till can see where their money is going,” said Lee Robey, owner of Robey Dairy Farm in Adairsville.
“Many thanks to Sen. Paul for his tremendous leadership in the competitive market space and for helping small distillers stay afloat,” said Peg Hays, owner and proprietor at Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville.
“Sen. Paul is a tireless champion for independent business owners and producers that just want a fair shake in the marketplace and we are grateful for his work,” said Tyler Young, owner and proprietor at H.K. Young Bourbon who also raises bison in Hopkinsville.
“Rand Paul is a man of principle and conviction that has made great strides for Kentucky farmers by challenging the status quo during a time when family farmers are rising up to take back American agriculture from the checkoff programs that have been utilizing producers’ own money against them,” said Michael Pape, a member of the Organization of Competitive Markets and adviser at Competitive Markets Action who resides in Hopkinsville. “The Organization for Competitive Markets and Competitive Markets Action are proud to present this award to the Senator and applaud his tireless work.”
“We applaud Sen. Paul for his tremendous work, 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.”
“Rand Paul is a courageous American hero with real guts and we applaud him for pushing back against the swampy government checkoff slush funds,” said Marty Irby, president & CEO at Competitive Markets Action and board secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “American family farmers finally stand a fighting chance against the checkoff whipping boys of the four-big-packer-monopoly and multinational conglomerates.”  
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.


U.S. Sen. Rand Paul at Award Presentation

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