WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2022 – Talking at a White Home occasion centered on competitors in agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Lawyer Common Merrick B. Garland expressed their shared dedication to successfully implementing federal competitors legal guidelines that defend farmers, ranchers, and different agricultural producers and growers from unfair and anticompetitive practices, together with the antitrust legal guidelines and the Packers and Stockyards Act. The Division of Agriculture (USDA) and Division of Justice are already working collectively to assist their respective enforcement efforts below these legal guidelines. As one step in that persevering with course of, in the present day they launched the next assertion of ideas and commitments:
- Farmers, ranchers, and different producers and growers deserve the advantages of free and truthful competitors. The Justice Division and USDA due to this fact are prioritizing issues impacting competitors in agriculture.
- The businesses will collectively develop inside 30 days a centralized, accessible course of for farmers, ranchers, and different producers and growers to submit complaints about potential violations of the antitrust legal guidelines and the Packers and Stockyards Act. The businesses will defend the confidentiality of the complainants in the event that they so request to the fullest extent attainable below the legislation and likewise decide to supporting related whistleblower protections, together with newly-applicable protections for legal antitrust complainants in opposition to illegal retaliation.
- The businesses will work collectively to advertise efficient data sharing and case cooperation, together with processes the businesses will observe to effectively tackle a criticism.
- Each businesses decide to vigorously implement the legal guidelines that defend farmers, ranchers, and different producers and growers from unfair, misleading, discriminatory, and anticompetitive practices. As acceptable, USDA will make stories or refer potential violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act to the Justice Division to raised allow its Antitrust Division to pursue meritorious competition-related circumstances and to permit the businesses to collaborate on problems with mutual curiosity. Moreover, The Justice Division and USDA will work collectively to determine and spotlight areas the place Congress can assist modernize these toolkits.
“Producers all throughout the nation for too lengthy have confronted a market that advantages just a few massive corporations over those that are rising our meals,” stated Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack. “Because of this shoppers are paying extra and farmers, ranchers and producers see much less of the earnings. The pandemic solely additional disrupted these challenges throughout the provision chain, exposing a meals system that was inflexible, consolidated, and fragile. Antitrust and market regulatory enforcement is important to enabling the competitors mandatory to remodel our concentrated provide chains in favor of diversified, resilient meals techniques. These are advanced, troublesome areas of legislation, and our authorities are 100 years outdated or extra, however I am heartened by reaffirming our shared dedication to sort out these challenges collectively.”
“The Justice Division takes very severely the duty we share with our companions throughout the federal authorities to guard shoppers, safeguard competitors, and guarantee financial alternative and equity for all,” stated Lawyer Common Garland. “Over the previous ten months, we have now stepped up our efforts to make sure competitors and counter anticompetitive practices throughout sectors – from airways to insurance coverage brokers to ebook publishers. And we are going to proceed to vigorously implement our antitrust legal guidelines, regardless of the trade, regardless of the corporate, and regardless of the person.”