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The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have relented and will actually hear from farmers at a workshop being held on possible antitrust violations in businesses associated with agriculture. The workshop will be held in Ankeny, Iowa, on March 12. Originally, only one farmer was to be heard from Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa complained. And now a panel of five to six farmers will have 45 minutes to explain how business concentration in the hog, cattle, soy bean, corn and cotton markets is affecting their livelihoods. One of the farmers will be Jim Foster, a Montgomery City, Missouri, hog producer, above.
Okay, it is true that a panel of politicians speaking first will have twice that long to tell the DOJ and the USDA their thoughts about monopoly in seed production, food sales and meat processing. Farmers are squeezed into an itsy bitsy time slot before lunch. This workshop is being held as the DOJ decides whether to file antitrust cases against large companies in the ag business. The most likely target is Monsanto, which produces most of the seeds farmers use to raise corn and beans.
Also, those who plan on attending the workshop on March 12 might want to register. To do that, go here.