USDOJ, USDA, and Mississippi Ag Commissioner Rally with American Family Farmers and Ranchers at Organization for Competitive Markets Annual Meeting

Patriotic Small Town Farmers Gather in the Deep South

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI, May 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Members of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), met in the Southeastern U.S., for the group’s annual conference, general membership meeting, and election of officers.  Members of OCM joined the conference from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The group was blessed with a raft of speakers that included Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Michael Kades, and Andy Green, Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. A full list of speakers can be found here.

One of the largest and most well attended annual conferences OCM has seen in more than a decade, the events and conference were planned and executed by OCM Founder Fred Stokes, a native Mississippian who resides in Portersville, and longtime office manager Pat Craycraft who drove two full days each way just to be there.

“The case has been made to bring small processors, feed lots, and additional infrastructure back to the Southeastern U.S. so that American food production is not centralized in the Mid-West and further consolidated with the four big packer monopoly than runs the American meat cartel,” said Fred Stokes, Founder of OCM. “We applaud and appreciate each of our speakers and the OCM membership for their steadfast dedication to bring fairness and regional voices from the Southeast into the fold.”

The conference was focused on expanding regional agriculture infrastructure, the continued work of OCM to create and improve competitive markets in the U.S., and how the USDOJ, USDA, and State Departments of Agriculture can address the decades-long monopolization of American agriculture by foreign interests like the Chinese-owned Smithfield and Brazil-based JBS. 

OCM’s general membership meeting saw the election of former Kansas State House Representative Tatum Lee-Hahn to replace Jerika Brumbeloe, reelection of Board Directors Marty Irby from Washington, D.C., and Taylor Haynes of Laramie, Wyoming, and as well as the reelection of the 2024 officers by unanimous consent with no opposition. Haynes will continue to serve as President, Mike Schultz  of Brewster, Kansas as Vice-President, Irby as Secretary, and Jonathan Buttram of Albertville, Alabama as Treasurer.

During the annual meeting Fred Stokes, Tatum Lee-Hahn, and others discussed planning for the 2025 convention and it was decided a committee would be appointed by President Haynes to secure a location in the Southeastern U.S. again next year. The groups also received commentary from board member Dave Wright of Neligh, Nebraska, spoke about the continued concentration in the marketplace and Stokes spoke about the long-term damage the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) continues to cause to Southeastern markets and the need for Congress to recognize that NCBA only represents 3% of the cattle industry which is barely a fraction of the market and producers in the space.

“I’m honored to be selected to serve as President of OCM for a third term and appreciate the membership’s confidence in our leadership,” said Taylor Haynes, President of OCM, and Founder of Wyoming’s Independent Cattle Producers Organization. “We’ve made astounding strides over the past year and I’m especially encouraged by the outpour of support for our efforts and collaboration with Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and others who now see the agriculture model in the U.S. must be changed. I applaud the work dedicated to the organization by Marty Irby and congratulate him on receiving the Helmuth Award this year – OCM’s highest honor.”

“Many thanks to the members of OCM for giving me the opportunity to serve as Vice-President for another year,” said Mike Schultz, Vice-President at OCM and Founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. “The groundswell of support for OCM has put us in a stronger position than we’ve ever been, and industrial agriculture interests that have put countless American family farmers and ranchers out of business are on the run.”

“The groundswell of support OCM has seen in the past year from producers and elected officials across America is astounding and we’re making more of a difference in Washington, D.C. than I’ve ever seen before,” said Jonathan Buttram, Treasurer at OCM and President of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association. “Our finances are in great shape and we have the opportunity to make greater change and have more impact than we ever have in the upcoming Farm Bill – I appreciate the membership’s confidence in reelecting me to serve another term.”

The annual Helmuth Award – OCM’s highest honor named in remembrance of OCM’s late co-founder John Helmuth was awarded to Board Director and Secretary Marty Irby.

“I am deeply humbled to receive the John Helmuth Award, have never been more surprised to have such a distinguished honor bestowed upon me, and truly believe that God is with us,” said Marty Irby, Secretary at OCM and President at Competitive Markets Action who is leading the groups’ lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. “If the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Berman Co. believe their continued slanderous personal attacks against me are working for them, they should take note their actions only further fuel my desire to work harder and make dramatic change that will improve the lives of the American family farmers that keep this country fed. China’s front men and whipping boys will not prevail.”

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.


Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson Michael Kades, Fred Stokes, and Andy Green at Annual OCM Conference

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