Yesterday, the news wire sparked with some really good news — Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are joining together to hold public discussions on “competition issues affecting the agriculture industry in the 21st century and the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in that industry.” This is the first time any such talks will have been held on an industry that is massively consolidated and under-regulated.
For example, did you know that in 2006, 83.5% of beef-packing was controlled by 4 companies, same goes for 66% of pork packing, 58.5% of the chicken processing and 55% of turkey processing. Similar numbers exist for the seed companies, the grain processors bringing animal feed to feedlots and HFCS to most of the packaged foods in the supermarket, and the supermarket retailers themselves. Numbers this high indicate a lack of competition.
For more information on trusts in the agricultural sector, please take a look at a recent post I wrote on the subject.
And also, the Justice Department invites interested parties to submit comments on what should be discussed and considered at these meetings by December 31st, 2009 to: firstname.lastname@example.org Agendas and schedules for the early 2010 meetings will be forthcoming on the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division website: www.usdoj.gov/atr