September 25, 2023

National Food Policy Conference explores antitrust issues

The 2023 National Food Policy Conference held on Sep. 19 in Washington, D.C., featured keynote speakers, panel discussions and explored an array of important food policy issues facing consumers and the food industry, including front-of-package labeling, the Farm Bill and antitrust enforcement.

Coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Food Policy Conference is a collaboration between consumer advocates, the food industry, and government, and is a key national gathering for anyone interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice Michael Kades, and Marty Irby, president and CEO of Competitive Markets Action and board secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets, co-hosted a fireside chat on the need for more enforcement against anti-monopolistic practices throughout the agriculture sector.

Antitrust laws are based on the notion that competitive market forces should play the primary role in determining the structure and functioning of our economy.  The role of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division is to stop anticompetitive mergers or conduct from harming the agricultural marketplace.

On the legislative side of the issue, there are a number of federal bills aiming to reform the agriculture marketplace to benefit independent American producers, most notably the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, H.R.1249/S.557, which is being led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), with support from Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Leading in the House are U.S. Reps., Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Dina Titus (D-NV). OFF aims to to increase transparency and reduce conflicts of interest in the agricultural industry. If enacted, OFF would also prevent checkoff funds from going to organizations that lobby on agricultural issues and would prohibit anti-competitive practices in the programs.

And on Tuesday, Sen. Lee, filed an amendment (S.Amdt.1097 to S.Amdt.1092) to H.R.4366 — Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024 that mirrors the OFF Act that is supported by CMA, OCM, FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation, Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association, R-CALF, and more than 200,000 farmers and ranchers across America.

“I’m honored to present at the Consumer Federation of America’s National Food Policy Conference, and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael Cades on these critical issues,” Marty Irby, president at Competitive Markets Action, and board secretary at the Organization for Competitive Markets. “USDA’s commodity checkoff programs remain under fire because of their lack of transparency, misuse of funds, and damaging anti-competitive practices that have bankrupted millions of American farmers, and we applaud Sen. Lee for fearlessly champion the movement for checkoff reform.”

For more information on this annual event, visit

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands

Organic Grower