U.S. Rep. Dina Titus Honored with Leadership Award by Competitive Markets Groups

Farmers and Ranchers applaud Titus for her work to address corruption at USDA’s scandal-ridden checkoff programs and defeat terrible EATS Act

LAS VEGAS, NV, Feb. 22, 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. Dina Titus, D-NV, with their Leadership Award for her work to reform the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Commodity Checkoff Programs with the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R. 1249/S. 557, that Titus has championed since 2017.

Titus has worked in bipartisan fashion alongside former Rep. Dave Bratt, R-VA, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-SC, and Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, Rand Paul, R-KY, Cory Booker, D-NJ, Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, 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 Latino Farmers & Ranchers International, Farm Action, Farm Aid, the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network, the American Grassfed Association, National Taxpayers Union, and Environmental Working Group to name a few.

OFF would reform USDA’s 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 like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who lobbied against Country-of-Origin Labeling, and the National Pork Producers Council who has been outspoken against state ballot measures like California’s Prop 12 that benefit American producers who practice more regenerative and sustainable agriculture.

Titus also signed a bipartisan House sign-on letter against the so-called Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, H.R. 4417S. 2019, led by Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-IA, and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-KS, that is designed to nullify state ballot measures across the country enacted by a direct vote of the people. Industrial agribusiness interests failed to secure the enactment of similar legislation led by former Rep. Steve King, R-IA, in the 2018 Farm Bill thanks to the work of OCM leaders and former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-TX, who is currently working with the Competitive Markets Groups to defeat EATS in 2024.

In the 117th Congress, Titus also cosponsored the Pigs in Gestation Stalls (PIGS) Act, H.R. 7004, that would have provided more space for breeding sows in pork production facilities across the U.S., a policy similar to many of the corporate pledges made by top retailers in the last several years who are working to eliminate the use of gestation crates in U.S. pork production.

“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.”

“We applaud Rep. Titus for her 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 are grateful to Rep. Titus for her tremendous leadership and tireless work to enact the OFF Act over the past seven years,” said Marty Irby, President & CEO at Competitive Markets Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Family farmers owe Titus a great debt of thanks for her persistence and dedication to reforming USDA’s scandal-ridden commodity checkoff programs and ending the unethical lobbying practices the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has utilized to put American farmers and ranchers out of business.”

“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 Rep. Titus 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." 

“As a proud American and lifelong producer, I proudly applaud Rep. Titus 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 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; S. 3382, the Protecting Interstate Commerce for Livestock Producers Act (PICLPA), led by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, with no additional cosponsors; and other legislation like it. 

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. Dina Titus with CMA and OCM Members and Directors