February 11, 2011
On Wednesday, February 9, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) submitted a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) follow up on the series of workshops held in 2010 regarding competition in U.S. agriculture.
There were five workshops held across the country, addressing vertical integration, buyer power, market transparency, and competition and retail pricing. Each workshop framed these issues by examining a different aspect of the agriculture industry, with individual workshops on seed, poultry, dairy, livestock (primarily cattle and hog), and price margins.
The workshops provided an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, consumer groups, processors, agribusiness, and others to provide examples of potentially anti-competitive conduct and to air concerns about applying antitrust laws to the agriculture industry.
In their letter, Senators Leahy and Grassley write, “With the conclusion of the last workshop on December 8, 2010, we would appreciate an update as to what the DOJ and USDA plans for its next steps. As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary, please provide to us an outline of any plans or further action items that DOJ and USDA intend to take in this area.”
For the full text of the Senators’ letter, click here.
For more information on the 2010 DOJ/USDA hearings, and to view videos or transcripts, click here.
Categories: Competition & Anti-trust