DOJ, USDA Team for Workshops on Poultry, Dairy, Livestock Sectors

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced details regarding the public workshop that will be held on May 21 at Alabama A&M University in Normal, Ala., to explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The focus of the workshop will be consolidation and contracting practices of the poultry sector. More workshops covering different agricultural sectors also were announced.

The workshop series, first announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Aug. 5, 2009, are the first joint DOJ/USDA workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. According to the departments, 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 experience in the agriculture sector. Attendance at the workshops is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in attending the Alabama workshop should register at www.aamu.edu/saes/FAS/DOJ_USDA/.

Holder, Vilsack, and Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Antitrust Division Christine Varney will participate in the Alabama workshop.

Meanwhile, the departments have adjusted two previously announced dates for workshops dealing with the dairy and livestock industries. The current schedule for the workshops is as follows:

May 21, 2010: Poultry Industry (Normal, Ala.)
Specific areas of focus may include production contracts in the poultry industry, concentration, and buyer power.
Alabama A&M University
Knight Reception Center
4900 Meridian Street
Normal, Ala.

June 25, 2010: Dairy Industry (Madison, Wis.)
Specific areas of focus may include concentration, marketplace transparency and market dynamics in the dairy industry.
University of Wisconsin
Union Theater in Memorial Union
800 Langdon Street
Madison, Wis.

Aug. 27, 2010: Livestock Industry (Fort Collins, Colo.)
This workshop will address beef, hog and other animal sectors. Likely issues for discussion are concentration in livestock markets, buyer power and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colo.

Dec. 8, 2010: Margins (Washington, D.C.)
This workshop will look at the discrepancies between the prices received by farmers and the prices paid by consumers. As a concluding event, discussions from previous workshops will be incorporated into the analysis of agriculture markets nationally.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Jefferson Auditorium
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C.

Additional details on the upcoming workshops will be provided at a later date, the departments said.

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