DOJ issues its report on DOJ/USDA Joint Public Workshops on Antitrust in Agriculture

On May 16, 2012, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a 24-page report on the five public competition-in-agriculture workshops that the DOJ co-sponsored with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2010.  The report, “Competition and Agriculture: Voices from the Workshops on Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement in Our 21st Century Economy and Thoughts on the Way Forward,” is available at the following DOJ link: www.justice.gov/atr/public/reports/283291.pdf

In Section II of the Report, “What We Heard at the Workshops,” the DOJ summarizes and discusses themes that were heard repeatedly at the workshops, including anticompetitive mergers, high market concentration, monopsony power, price levels, lack of capital, contracting, market transparency and captive supply, market manipulation and genetically modified seeds.

Section III of the report assesses which of the concerns raised during the workshops fall within the scope of the DOJ’s antitrust enforcement powers, and which do not.  The report states at p. 16, for example, that as a result of the workshops, “the Division has redoubled its efforts to prevent anticompetitive agricultural mergers and conduct,” but observes elsewhere that the antitrust laws do not empower courts to engineer an idealized economic landscape of small farms and ranches, and modest-sized local grain elevators and packers, or to control price volatility that results from market forces and not from anticompetitive practices.  (Report, at 18, 20.)

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One response to “DOJ issues its report on DOJ/USDA Joint Public Workshops on Antitrust in Agriculture

  1. Courts are not using the power under the law that they are given and instead make excuse after excuse for politically well connected meat packers who can determine the outcome of judicial decisions that would obviously go against them. If the determination of facts were given to a jury instead of federal judges continuing to throw cases, these meat packers would be held accountable for their actions. As it is, the judiciary system is playing the trump card for meat packers thanks to their friends on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, placed judges, and legal strategies connected to Supreme Court judges like judge Alito and his clerks. We don’t get justice, we get “just us” where all legal deference goes to the politically well connected.

    We have the best Congress money can buy and the Judiciary system is not far behind in catering to the wealthy and their legalizing their frauds through esoteric and eccentric court policy that favors the masters of the economy, even when it obtained in part through fraud.

    The ties to powerful politicians and their money train is undeniable. Their behind the scenes work captures the game for themselves and their supporters, even as our democracy pays the price.