USDA, Department of Justice held final ag competition workshop

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice wrapped up the fifth of five joint public workshops earlier this month to explore the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in American agriculture.

Margins

The workshop, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, examined margins at various levels of the agricultural supply chain.

The workshop also included opportunities for public comments.

Joint workshops

These joint workshops are the first-ever to be held by the Department of Justice and USDA to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals of the workshops are to promote dialogue and foster learning with a diverse group of stakeholders regarding the agricultural marketplace.

Additional information about the workshops can be found at www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/index.htm#overview.

Vilsack and Holder began the workshop with opening remarks before moderating a discussion with participants representing each level of the agricultural supply chain, followed by a panel consisting of dairy farmers, academics and industry representatives to discuss dairy margins.

In the afternoon a third panel looked at issues in the retail sector, examining concentration, margins and similar trends.

The final panel discussed margins in the livestock and poultry industries. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Christine Varney gave closing remarks.

Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov.

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