Workshops to explore competition, regulatory issues

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Upcoming one-day joint public workshops will explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Nov. 13. First announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in August, the workshops are the first joint Department of Justice/U.S.D.A. workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry.

Beginning in March 2010, the workshops will be held in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. Workshop goals are to promote dialogue among interested parties and foster learning with respect to the appropriate legal and economic analyses of these issues, as well as to listen to and learn from parties with experience in the agriculture sector.

Scheduled workshops include:

  • May 21, 2010 — Poultry Industry. Specific areas of focus may include production contracts in the poultry industry, concentration and buyer power. Alabama A&M University Auditorium, James I. Dawson Cooperative Extension Building, Normal, Ala.
  • Aug. 26, 2010 — Livestock Industry. Specific areas of focus will address beef, hog and other animal sectors and may include enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act and concentration. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.

Workshops may feature keynote speakers, general expert panels and break-out panels that will address more narrowly-focused issues. The workshops will also involve farmers, ranchers, processors, consumer groups, agribusinesses, government officials and academics.

Comments in advance of the workshops are also being requested by the Department of Justice and U.S.D.A. Written comments should be submitted 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 5th Street, NW, Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001. The electronic version of each comment should be submitted to agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov.

Additional updates and information, including agendas and speakers, will be posted on the Antitrust Division's events web site.

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