Public Workshops: Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held five joint public workshops to explore competition issues affecting the agricultural sector in the 21st century and the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in that industry.
These were the first joint Department of Justice/USDA workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals of the workshops were to promote dialogue among interested parties and foster learning with respect to the appropriate legal and economic analyses of these issues as well as to listen to and learn from parties with real-world experience in the agricultural sector.
The workshops addressed the dynamics of competition in agriculture markets, including buyer power (monopsony) and vertical integration. They examined legal doctrines and jurisprudence, as well as current economic learning, and provided an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, consumer groups, processors, agribusiness, and other interested parties to provide examples of potentially anticompetitive conduct and to discuss any concerns about the application of the antitrust laws to the agricultural sectors. The workshops were transcribed and placed on the public record along with submissions and written comments received.
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Dates, Locations, and Topics
March 12, 2010
Issues of Concern to Farmers
Introduction to the workshops series with a focus on the issues facing crop farmers. Discussion topics included seed technology, vertical integration, market transparency, and buyer power.
FFA Enrichment Center
May 21, 2010
Specific areas of focus included production contracts in the poultry industry, concentration, and buyer power.
Alabama A&M University
June 25, 2010
Specific areas of focus included concentration, marketplace transparency, and market dynamics in the dairy industry.
University of Wisconsin
August 27, 2010
Fort Collins, Colorado
This workshop addressed beef, hog, and other animal sectors. Topics of discussion included concentration in livestock markets, buyer power, and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Colorado State University
December 8, 2010
This workshop looked at the discrepancies between the prices received by farmers and the prices paid by consumers. As a concluding event, discussions from previous workshops were incorporated into the analysis of agriculture markets nationally.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Federal Register Notice
Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy [74 FR 43725 (08/27/2009)]
Public Comment Submissions
The deadline for submitting public comments was December 31, 2009.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture continued to welcome comments from the public throughout these workshops. Comments received after the deadline may not be posted online, but will be considered by DOJ and USDA as part of the ongoing dialogue. Any interested person may submit written comments responsive to any of the topics addressed in the Federal Register Notice and the workshops.
Written comments submitted after the deadline should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Comment” in the subject line. Electronic submissions must include the original source file (Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.). Submissions in PDF only format will not be accepted.
Note: The size of an e-mail to the Antitrust Division, including all attachments, cannot exceed 10 MB. Accordingly, electronic documents that are voluminous should be submitted to the Antitrust Division using appropriate media (such as CD) to:
Competition Policy and Advocacy Section
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 3337
Washington, DC 20530
Privacy and confidentiality: Written submissions and the identity of the submitter may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed by publication and/or posting on the Department of Justice website, at the discretion of the Department of Justice. Information that is submitted in connection with these events cannot be maintained as confidential by the Department of Justice. Written submissions should not include any information that the submitting person seeks to preserve as confidential.