Who We Are

The Agriculture & Food Committee focuses on antitrust litigation, enforcement, legislation, and regulation in the agriculture and food sectors. In recent years these industries have spawned significant antitrust developments and policy debates on issues of potentially broad consequence, including for example the IP/antitrust overlap (Monsanto v. DuPont – 2010), monopsony (JBS/National Beef – 2009), the antitrust/Packers and Stockyards Act overlap (Wheeler v. Pilgrim’s Pride – 2009), and vertical mergers and potential competition (Monsanto/Delta & Pine Land – 2007).

 What We Do
This is an exciting time for antitrust in the agriculture and food sectors. Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney expressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that competition issues affecting agriculture, including “unprecedented economic upheaval in the dairy industry,” are “a priority” for the Antitrust Division.

In March 2010, U.S Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack opened an unprecedented series of five joint DOJ/USDA public workshops that will scrutinize competition, pricing and regulation in agriculture markets. At the first workshop, in Ankeny, Iowa, AAG Varney suggested a joint task force with the USDA and detailing DOJ attorneys to the USDA to develop further use of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which protects producers and consumers from unfair practices and other competitive misconduct.

The Agriculture & Food Committee was formed in April 2010, to keep pace with the ongoing developments. The Committee will follow, report, educate on, and participate in antitrust developments in the agriculture and food sectors. The Committee will provide a venue to Section and Committee members for advancing awareness, understanding and dialogue regarding issues in this vibrant antitrust field, including the antitrust issues surrounding:

  • Genetic Traits
  • Seeds
  • Farm Crops
  • Livestock
  • Meat Packing & Processing
  • Dairy
  • Food Processing & Distribution
  • Retail Groceries

The Committee will sponsor seminars on current topics, circulate important industry issues and news on its listserv, publish newsletters, and maintain useful resources on its webpage for all who wish to stay informed about antitrust issues and developments in the agriculture and food sectors.

 We encourage and welcome your suggestions for projects, discussions or programs. Please let us know if you have questions or would like to contribute to the Committee’s activities.