Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Federal Agencies Take Tough Stance on Anticompetitive Practices in Ag
Federal officials are bolstering efforts to address anticompetitive practices in the agricultural sector. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently reiterated their commitment to enforcing competition laws. At a recent White House event concerning agricultural competition, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland spoke to the need for protecting farmers and ranchers from unfair practices.
“Producers all across the country for too long have faced a marketplace that benefits a few large companies over those who are growing our food,” Vilsack said in a press release. “This means that consumers are paying more and farmers, ranchers and producers see less of the profits. The pandemic only further disrupted these challenges across the supply chain, exposing a food system that was rigid, consolidated, and fragile. Antitrust and market regulatory enforcement is essential to enabling the competition necessary to transform our concentrated supply chains in favor of diversified, resilient food systems.”
The two agencies will be working together in prioritizing issues of competition in agriculture and will be improving information sharing to better address problems. USDA and DOJ will jointly be developing a new portal over the coming month to provide easier access for producers to report anticompetitive practices. The two agencies will also be collaborating on the identification of areas where Congress may be able to improve enforcement capabilities. The renewed focus on behalf of USDA and DOJ comes as the Biden Administration takes a comprehensive approach to addressing issues in the supply chain.
“Over the past ten months, we have stepped up our efforts to ensure competition and counter anticompetitive practices across sectors – from airlines to insurance brokers to book publishers,” said Garland. “And we will continue to vigorously enforce our antitrust laws, no matter the industry, no matter the company, and no matter the individual.”
Source: AgNet West