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Press Release

Department of Justice and USDA Workshops to Explore Competition and Regulatory Issues in the Agriculture Industry to Begin March 12 in Iowa

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Initial Workshop to Be Held in Ankeny, Iowa, at Des Moines Area Community College, FFA Enrichment Center

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the agenda and panelists for the first joint public workshop, which will be held on March 12, 2010, in Ankeny, Iowa,  to explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry.  The workshop will be held at the Des Moines Area Community College’s FFA Enrichment Center. 

The workshops, which were first announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Aug. 5, 2009, are 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 are 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 experience in the agriculture sector.  Attendance at the workshops is free and open to the public.  The general public and media interested in attending the initial workshop should register at

The Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Christine Varney and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will participate in the workshop and will be joined by Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.  They will participate in a roundtable discussion with presentations on current issues affecting farmers.  Two panels focusing on the competitive dynamics in the seed industry and trends in contracting, transparency and buyer power will follow.  The first day of the workshops will end with an enforcer roundtable and public testimony.

The workshop schedule follows:

Opening Remarks  (9:00 a.m. CST - 9:15 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Roundtable Discussion and Presentation of Issues  (9:15 a.m. CST - 11:30 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice
Tom Miller, Attorney General, State of Iowa
Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture, State of Iowa
Tom Harkin, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)
Chuck Grassley, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)
Leonard Boswell, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives (tentative)


Chet Culver, Governor, State of Iowa

A farmer roundtable discussion and testimony will also be given at this time.  Farmer panelists will be posted on the Web site at a later date.

Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel (1:00 p.m. CST - 2:15 p.m. CST)

James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Ray Gaesser, Soybean and Corn Farmer, Corning, Iowa; Vice President, American Soybean Association; Former President, Iowa Soybean Association
Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Member of the Iowa Bar
Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics and Finance, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University
Diana Moss, Vice President & Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute
Jim Tobin, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Monsanto Company

Agricultural Trends Panel (2:15 p.m. CST - 3:15 p.m. CST)

Phil Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Brian Buhr, Professor and Head of Department, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis
Mary Hendrickson, Extension Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
John Lawrence, Professor of Economics, Iowa State University
Chuck Wirtz, pork producer, Whittemore, Iowa
Patrick Woodall, Research Director, Food & Water Watch

Enforcer Roundtable Discussion Panel (3:30 p.m. CST - 4:15 p.m. CST)

Mark Tobey, Special Counsel for State Relations and Agriculture, U.S. Department of

Steve Bullock, Attorney General, State of Montana
Richard Cordray, Attorney General, State of Ohio
John Ferrell, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Stephen Obie, Director, Division of Enforcement, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
William Stallings, Assistant Section Chief, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Public Testimony (4:15 p.m. CST - 5:15 p.m. CST)

This is an opportunity for those in the audience to make comments in an open forum.

Additional updates and information will be posted on the Antitrust Division’s agriculture workshop Web site at  While no streaming Web cast will be available, transcripts will be available for review at a later date on the Antitrust Division’s Web site.  Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact

Press Contacts:

U.S. Department of Justice  
Office of Public Affairs  
Gina Talamona    
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of Communications
Jim Brownlee


Updated December 28, 2015

Press Release Number: 10-182