CME: USDA Announces Workshop Dates and Topics

US - USDA and the Department of Justice have announced the dates and subjects for a series of “workshops” on the status of competition in agriculture, report Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 18 November 2009
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The workshops are intended to look at current structure of agricultural input supply, production and processing as well as the behavior of firms within those sectors and the impacts on prices. The schedule and topics are:

  • 12 March 2010 in Ankeny, Iowa — Issues of Concern to Crop Farmers. Will focus on seed technology, vertical integration, market transparency and buyer power.

  • 21 May 2010 in Normal, Alabama — Poultry Industry. Production contracts will be a major focus. In addition, they will look at concentration and buyer power.

  • 7 June 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin — Dairy Industry. The focus may include concentration, marketplace transparency and vertical integration.

  • 26 August 2010 in Fort Collins, Colorado — Livestock Industry. The session will address beef, hog and other animal (we assume that is primarily lamb) sectors and may include enforcement activities of the Packers and Stockyards Act as well as a discussion of concentration.

  • 8 December 2010 in Washington, DC — Will look at “discrepancies” between the prices received by farmers and the prices paid by consumers.

These workshops will, we believe, be more akin to field hearings though no definite formats have been provided. The schedule suggests that USDA and DOJ will take a very broad look at agricultural markets. It also suggests that they are not going to move quickly since the meetings span virtually all of 2010. They are still worthy of our (and your) attention since they carry the possibility of some changes (perhaps LARGE changes) in marketing institutions and practices.

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