DOJ-USDA Listening Sessions on Ag Market Competition and Regulation Announced: On Friday, Novmeber 13, USDA and the Department of Justice announced the schedule for 2010 joint workshops and listening sessions on agricultural market concentration and competition issues. The schedule for the workshops is as follows:
March 12, 2010 – Issues of Concern to Farmers – Ankeny, Iowa – focus on seed technology, vertical integration, market transparency and buyer power.
May 21, 2010 – Poultry Industry – Normal, Ala – focus on production contracts in the poultry industry, concentration and buyer power.
June 7, 2010 – Dairy Industry – Madison, Wisc. – focus on concentration, marketplace transparency and vertical integration in the dairy industry.
Aug. 26, 2010 – Livestock Industry – Fort Collins, Colo. – focus on beef, hog and other animal sectors and may include enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act and concentration.
Dec. 8, 2010 – Margins – Washington, D.C. – focus on the discrepancies between the prices received by farmers and the prices paid by consumers. As a concluding event, discussions from previous workshops will be incorporated into the analysis of agriculture markets nationally.
Each workshop may feature keynote speakers, general expert panels, and break-out panels that will address more narrowly-focused issues. At each workshop, the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
In addition, USDA and the Department of Justice submit are accepting written comments on these issues until Dec. 31, 2009. Two paper copies of comments should be addressed to the Legal Policy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 50 5th Street, NW, Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001. The electronic version of each comment should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.