The United States Department of Justice, joined by the Department of Agriculture, chose the 2009 annual meeting of the
Organization for Competitive Markets (“OCM”) as the place for Deputy Assistant Attorney General Philip Wieser to announce the joint effort of the two (2) cabinet-level agencies to examine competition in agricultural markets.
David Domina, a founding member of OCM, joined the organization in applauding the US DOJ/USDA decision to conduct nationwide comment and listening sessions, and to conduct an evidence and information gathering process in an effort to determine what antitrust action, if any, is necessary to assure the nation’s food supply is in secure hands, and producers are able to buy inputs and sell their products in competitive markets, free from so much concentration that the nation’s well being could be jeopardized by one or two firm financial failures.
Domina, who regularly provides assistance and support for OCM when asked, lauded the decision and exhorts producers to submit comments, provide information, and give affidavits or testimony.
“Conversations with Mr. Wieser at the OCM meeting, and with USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Administrator, Dudley Butler, also an OCM founding member, make it clear this is a major announcement,” Domina said. “We will submit comments from here, help our Clients do so, and be actively involved in recruiting others to help the federal government understand the lack of competition in Ag markets, the excessive concentration that characterizes the seed, animal genetics, and farm products markets for the nation’s major commodity goods.”
Domina noted that the “four-firm Hirschman-Herfindahl concentration index makes it clear markets are too concentrated in the seed, animal genetics, meat, and particularly beef, chicken, and major grain markets.” Hogs, he noted, are not far behind “now that packers have pushed the production into CAFOs, and do not bargain with their owners on an equal basis.”
Domina “encourages producers to be courageous at making comments and take this remarkable opportunity to let the government know what is going on in your market and have the courage of your sentiments and convictions.”
Domina cautioned that “if producers don’t step up, now, to make a difference in how their markets function, there will be no one but themselves to be held accountable.”
Domina Law Group pc llo expects to announce a specific initiative to help producers with the comment process.
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