Workshops to explore competition issues in the agriculture industry


WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will hold joint public workshops to explore competition issues affecting the agriculture industry in the 21st century and the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in that industry.


The joint workshops will address the dynamics of competition in agriculture markets including, among other issues, buyer power (also known as monopsony) and vertical integration.

They will examine legal doctrines and jurisprudence and current economic learning, and will provide an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, consumer groups, processors, the agribusinesses and other interested parties to provide examples of potentially anticompetitive conduct.

The first workshop will be held in early 2010. While some of the workshops may be held in Washington, others will be held regionally.

Public comments

The Department of Justice and USDA are soliciting public comments from lawyers, economists, agribusinesses, consumer groups, academics, agricultural producers, agricultural cooperatives and other interested parties.

The Department of Justice and USDA are interested in receiving comments on the application of antitrust laws to monopsony and vertical integration in the agricultural sector, including the scope, functionality and limits of current or potential rules.

The public and press may attend the hearings.


Interested parties should submit written comments in both paper and electronic form to the Department of Justice no later than Dec. 31. All comments received will be publicly posted.

Two paper copies should be addressed to the Legal Policy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 5(th) Street, N.W., Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001. The Department’s Antitrust Division is requesting that the paper copies of each comment be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible.

The electronic version of each comment should be submitted to


Detailed agendas and schedules for the workshops will be made available on the Antitrust Division’s Web site at


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