Thursday, August 6, 2009
Justice Department and USDA to Hold Public Workshops to Explore Competition Issues in the Agriculture Industry
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
According to the DOJ press release there will be a series of conferences. I hope that DOJ takes my previous advice and begins each panel by asking each panelist who has paid for their testimony. There needs to be more transparency in the process and I believe that law firms and academics need to disclose any financial ties they have that might influence their testimony:
The joint Department of Justice/USDA 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 workshops will also provide an opportunity for discussion for any concerns about the application of the antitrust laws to the agricultural industry.
The goals of the workshops 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 real-world experience in the agriculture sector.