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Independent Grocers Gather For NGA’s Fly-In For Fair Competition

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The National Grocers Association held its second annual Fly-In for Fair Competition June 6-7 in Washington D.C.

The fly-in began with advocacy training to prepare NGA members for their Congressional meetings on June 7. Training was conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, an advocacy training organization in Washington D.C., and showed NGA members how to get the most out of their meetings. 

“NGA members know firsthand how a lack of antitrust enforcement and excessive swipe fees are hurting their business,” said Christopher Jones, NGA SVP of government relations & counsel. “By completing this comprehensive advocacy training, attendees [are] able to effectively communicate their needs during congressional meetings.” 

Attendees then heard from Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general of the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, about how swipe fees and the unfair advantages of power buyers are harming community grocers.

“Independent grocers and their wholesalers serve as the backbone of communities across the U.S., but Swipe Fees and the unfair advantages of power buyers are preventing dynamic small businesses from reaching their full potential,” Jones said.

“Jonathan Kanter has ushered in a new era of stricter antitrust scrutiny in the food and agriculture and payments sectors and is well-positioned to provide updates to fly-in attendees that are directly impacted by these issues.”

With Farm Bill negotiations ongoing in Congress, the June 7 sessions briefed NGA members on how to navigate Farm Bill lobbying during the fly-in. During the panel session, moderated by NGA VP of Government Relations Stephanie Johnson, attendees heard from two experts in the field who have Farm Bill wins under their belt: James Glueck, a former top staffer for Agriculture Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, and Barbara Hilden, who has decades of advocacy experience in the food industry.

“As deliberations continue in Congress on the 2023 Farm Bill, NGA has been working with lawmakers to ensure the needs of the independent sector of the food retail and distribution industry are adequately addressed,” Johnson said.

“James and Barbara…explored with fly-in attendees how a Farm Bill comes together and the potential speed bumps along the way. Independent grocers [left] this session understanding the key themes necessary to advocate for their interests with lawmakers during Tuesday’s meetings.”

The first day of the fly-in concluded with political analyst, commentator and best-selling author Chris Stirewalt, who discussed 2024 presidential politics and what its impact will be in Washington D.C.

“Chris Stirewalt has been a trusted voice in U.S. politics for many years, providing a candid and clear analysis of the current political climate, which has always been appealing to busy grocers that are understandably more focused on their day-to-day operations than what is happening in Washington D.C.,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO.

“I know attendees [found] this information valuable as they make their way to the halls of Congress this week to advocate for the interests of the independent grocery industry.”  

For more information about NGA, visit nationalgrocers.org.

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