Report from DOJ Workshop on Competition in Agriculture

From Southeast Farm Press:

USDA’s and the U.S. Department of Justice’s first-ever joint public workshop on competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry appears to have struck a nerve.

The workshop, which some dismissed in advance as a “dog and pony” show, attracted nearly 800 participants, many of them farmers who came from as far away as Alabama and Washington state for a chance to speak.

It also drew a fair number of public relations types and other staff members for some of the entities that could have reason to be concerned if the Obama administration decides to broaden its antitrust activities into the seed and meat processing industries.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other Department of Justice and USDA officials who attended the workshop, which was held at a community college in Ankeny, Iowa, were noncommittal about future actions by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, which is headed by Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney…

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