Budget (2021): $112,000
Headquarters: Lincoln, NE
Executive Director: Mike Eby
OCM claims to represent the little guy in a world of major food producers. However, not only does OCM advocate against free markets, but it works with animal liberation extremists who want to end animal agriculture entirely.
Ties to Animal Rights Extremists
In 2012, OCM began working with the extremist animal liberation group Humane Society of the United States. The food policy director of HSUS had compared farmers to Nazis and chickens to Holocaust victims. Yet Fred Stokes, head of OCM, claimed, “Every cowboy out there owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States.”
OCM board member Marty Irby, who also runs Competitive Markets Action, was a lobbyist for animal rights activists for six years. He started as a staff lobbyist for HSUS’s political arm, before joining Animal Wellness Action, formed by disgraced animal liberation lobbyist Wayne Pacelle after he resigned as HSUS CEO following sexual harassment allegations.
Former OCM head Joe Maxwell was previously a vice president for HSUS. And former OCM communications director Angela Huffman also was a staffer for HSUS. Huffman now runs Farm Action. (See Profile: Farm Action)
OCM reported only having a budget of about $112,000 in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available). Yet in 2023 it launched a major campaign against federal legislation to support free interstate commerce. How?
At times, OCM has received significant “grants” from activists. OCM received $120,000 from the Schmidt Family Foundation in 2018-19. The Foundation was founded by a billionaire former Google CEO and funds radical environmental activists who attack modern agriculture.
OCM has also received $25,000 from a foundation in Oklahoma that attacks pork farmers and funds vegan activists.
This gives the appearance that OCM is nothing more than a muppet-for-hire for environmental and animal rights activists who need to put a “farmer face” on their advocacy.
In 2023, OCM launched a campaign against the EATS Act. The EATS Act is a proposed federal law that would override state laws that interfere with free markets. Specifically, the EATS Act is designed to nullify California Prop 12, a ballot initiative financed by vegan activists in 2018 that bans the sale of most pork and egg products from grocery stores, despite farmers using veterinarian-approved practices. The law restricts consumers from buying affordable proteins and is an overreaching attempt to tell farmers in other states how to raise animals.