Last Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) held the last of a series of joint workshops on “Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy.” This particular workshop was held at the USDA in Washington D.C. and focused on the issue of price margins – the discrepancies between prices received by farmers and ranchers for the food they produce and the prices paid by consumers for that food. Panelists and public commentary explored potentially anticompetitive conduct in the agriculture sector and discussed the possible need for the application of antitrust laws to address this conduct.
This workshop series was the first ever to bring the DOJ and USDA together around competition and regulatory issues in agriculture industries. The attention being given to this subject was reflected in the participation of senior staff at the USDA and DOJ, including Tom Vilsack (Secretary of Agriculture, USDA) and Eric Holder (US Attorney General). In addition to senior-level representation, the panels were well balanced to reflect the viewpoints of producers, processors, retailers and consumers. Read More >