Local Progress | 180+ State and Local Elected Officials Urge Congress to Reject the EATS Act

Reposted from: https://localprogress.org/2024/04/16/electeds-oppose-eats-act/

April 19, 2024

Today, 180 state and local elected officials representing 40 states are sounding the alarm on the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act (S.2019 and H.R.4417), a corporate-backed effort to strip local and state governments of their ability to regulate the agricultural industry. The legislation would undo thousands of existing state and local laws, including those related to farm worker protections, food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards.

Local Progress (LP) and the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) released letters (here and here, respectively) calling on Congress to protect local and state governments’ ability to create policy that is responsive to the issues their own communities face in the agricultural industry.

State and local elected officials highlighted how the EATS Act will upend local control and have a particularly detrimental impact on rural farming communities and billions of animals.

“As a policymaker dedicated to working with rural communities, I see the EATS Act as nothing more than a tactic by industry aimed at undermining our efforts to address the unique needs of rural America,” said Iowa State Representative Megan Srinivas. “By prioritizing corporate interests over people, this legislation threatens to disconnect policymakers from the very communities they are elected to serve. We must resist such corporate influence and remain steadfast in our commitment to empower rural voices in shaping policies that truly uplift and sustain their livelihoods.”

“We must strengthen policies that provide farmers and farmworkers the tools and opportunities to produce healthy, affordable food – but giant corporations are trying to consolidate their power and strip away our ability to establish local and statewide solutions,” said Michael Chameides, a County Supervisor and LP member in Columbia County, NY.

“Allowing states to craft their own food and agriculture policies fosters innovation and responsiveness to local needs. The EATS Act risks undermining this vital connection between legislators and the communities they represent,” said Michigan State Senator and Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee Sue Shink. “States need local control to develop tailored solutions with rural communities and learn from each other’s successes and failures.”

“Farmers, rural community members, and state legislators across this country have been partnering to promote policies that are good for people, their towns, and their local farming communities,” said Kendra Kimbirauskas Senior Director of Agriculture and Food Systems at SiX. “Tacking the EATS Act to the Farm Bill is nothing short of a deceitful attempt by corporate agribusiness to prevent communities from having self-determination over their local food system.”

The letters add to the ongoing efforts to call attention to the damage the EATS Act – or any similar language – would cause if incorporated into the next Farm Bill. Both LP and SiX participate in the Defeat EATS Act Coalition, which includes organizations like the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Farm Action Fund who are demanding Congress keep the EATS Act and any similar language out of the Farm Bill and prioritize protecting farmers and animal welfare, while safeguarding our food systems.

“Concerned voters across the country are demanding a holistically more humane food system through the Farm Bill, and the EATS Act is a blatant attempt by Big Ag to maintain the status quo and preserve the inhumane industrial model that continues to dominate our agricultural landscape,” said Chelsea Blink, director of farm animal legislation at the ASPCA. “If the EATS Act is incorporated into the Farm Bill, decades of progress would be rolled back at the expense of animal welfare, farmers, workers, consumers, and our environment, and we join local and state lawmakers in urging Congress to reject this dangerous proposal.”

“The EATS Act would rob farmers of critical new market opportunities and prevent communities from protecting their people,” said Farm Action Fund President Joe Maxwell, a Missouri farmer. “That is why we are grateful for the state and local elected officials who are standing against this legislation and the multinational corporations who would benefit from its passage. We look forward to working alongside these leaders to defeat EATS – or anything like it – in the next farm bill.”



Local Progress is a movement of local elected officials advancing a racial and economic justice agenda through all levels of local government. We are elected leaders who build power with underrepresented communities, share bold ideas and policy among our network, and fight to reshape what is possible in our localities all across the country.


SiX Action is fighting for a governance system that reimagines how elected officials, their constituents and civil society leaders build, shape and sustain shared power in service of racial, gender, social and economic justice within a multi-racial society.

Media Contacts:

Trisa Taro, Local Progress, ttaro@localprogress.org

Eme Crawford, State Innovation Exchange, eme@stateinnovation.org 

Alexander Craig, ASPCA, alexander.craig@aspca.org

Jessica Cusworth, Farm Action Fund, jcusworth@farmactionfund.us