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A Summary and Wrap Up of the Iowa Ag Competition Hearings

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ANTI_TRUST & COMPTETITION POLICY BLOG

Posted by Peter Carstensen     March 15, 2010

“Little was said about dairy (the subject of a session in Wisconsin in June), poultry contracts (subject of a session in Alabama in May) or the status of Capper-Volstead”

The DOJ-USDA Session on Agricultural Competition–March 12, Ankeny, Iowa

Farmers were instrumental in forcing the adoption of the Sherman Act and they remain one of the most interested and commitment constituencies for antitrust. The turnout at the session was substantial with estimates of the audience ranging from over 650 to more than 800. As one speaker put in, “I have never seen so many people interested in antitrust law except lawyers getting CLE credits.” Another sign of interest is that interested parties have filed more than 15,000 comments related to these workshops (available at the DOJ web site).

Attorney General Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack each emphasized a commitment to competition and to addressing competitive issues in markets involving agriculture. This is the first real cooperation between the agencies each of which has significant actual or potential authority to affect competition. Also present was a representation of the CFTC who signaled that agency’s commitment. Conspicuously absent was the FTC which has authority over retail grocery issues as well as all processed food production except meat and dairy products. When, after several comments about competitive issues resulting from retailer and general grocery manufacturer buyers power, the question of FTC absence was addressed the organizers said the FTC would be “invited” to the final meeting in DC in December. Informal conversation suggested to me that the FTC has signaled disinterest in these proceedings. I hope that is not true as it would mean a major gap in enforcement. More

The McCarran-Ferguson Act: Repealing this act will put insurance into Admiralty law

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General information:
Repealing this act will put insurance into Admiralty law.

What makes a corporate hiney hugger, hug?: Just ask John Block!

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By: Marti Oakley (c)copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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A February 20, 2010 article by John Block in the Wisconsin State Journal was quite possibly one of most extreme cases of corporate hiney hugging to come along in quite some time.  After reading this piece, I couldn’t help but wonder how brown Mr. Block’s nose was?  As a result of this obvious collection of disinformation and intentional misinformation; I decided I had to respond.  I have included actual statements from Mr. Block’s article and these appear in blue print and have provided a list of resources to document my response.____________________________

Block: “I left my post as the nation’s 21st secretary of agriculture in 1986, for instance, the average crop yield per acre in the United States was 33.3 bushels per acre for soybeans and 119.4 bushels per acre for corn. As of last year, thanks to the onset of almost revolutionary seed technologies, those yields rose to 39.7 bushels per acre for soybeans and 153.9 acres for corn.”

Mr. Block fails to mention those “revolutionary seed technologies” have come at a massive cost to the environment and that no verifiable evidence exists to substantiate his grandiose claim of 153.9 bushels per acre as a result of forced gmo use.  The only evidence, if you can call it that, of any increase at all was provided by the same companies who developed and sold the seeds and the accompanying chemicals necessary to grow them. More

DOJ Gets Serious About Antitrust, Targeting Dean Foods and Monsanto

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ORIGINAL POST AT BNET  link here.

By Katherine Glover | Jan 27, 2010

Katherine Glover is a Minneapolis-based print, radio and online journalist. She’s written for Salon.com, Sierra Magazine and many others, and she does a weekly blog on immigration issues for MinnPost.

The Department of Justice has formalized its investigation of Monsanto and filed a lawsuit against Dean Foods, confirming rumors that the DOJ would be more vigilant on antitrust issues under the Obama Administration.

The Justice Department seeks to undo Dean’s acquisition of two Wisconsin dairy companies, alleging that the deal was a way to reduce competition and raise prices. This legal action is “highly unusual” according to one dairy analyst; “this is the first bark we’ve heard from the antitrust division on food issues in a very long time.” The Bush Administration did not file a single major anti-monopoly case, according to the Washington Post.

The latest Monsanto investigation is about whether Monsanto will continue to produce its current Roundup Ready soybean seeds after the patent expires in 2014, or whether it will simply swap in a new, upgraded product under a new patent so it can maintain its high prices.

This is not the first time Monsanto has been accused of monopolist tendencies; the company controls an estimated 96 percent of the U.S. soybean crop and 80 percent of its corn crop, and some have compared Monsanto to the Microsoft of earlier decades. READ MORE

 Katherine Glover

Take back control of your food!

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There are two million farmers and 300 million eaters in the United States. Standing between them are a handful of corporations who control how food gets from one side to the other.  

Let’s change the equation. 

For the first time ever, the Department of Justice is on a fact-finding mission looking at how big business controls food and farming — and they want to hear from YOU. They are specifically seeking comments and stories about how corporate control of the food system affects average citizens. If you’re concerned that just a few big businesses have so much power over where your food comes from and how it’s produced, tell the government! Your comments will help to inform a series of hearings on the issue next year.          

E-mail your comments to agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov BY DECEMBER 31. The few minutes you take to write your letter could curb big business’s power over our food!

(Easy template below; sample letters and more topic ideas at www.usfoodcrisisgroup.org/)
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TEMPLATE: More

Staging the collapse of private dairy operations: A corporate coup’, Part 2

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All rights are reserved without exception and will be protected. No reprinting, redistributing or excerpting by electronic or any other means without the express written permission of the author. Obscuring or obliterating of original URL or author, re-titling or otherwise reproducing the title or contents is expressly prohibited. 
ppjg-48Copyright: October 23, 2009 by Marti Oakley  fireflyari@meltel.net

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Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I addressed what appears to be the participation of the State of Georgia, its Extension services and Land Grant universities in conjunction with New Zealand Dairy Management Systems and Cullen Agritech, along with several other newly created investment collectives, and individuals.  

The planned eradication of private dairy operations being practiced in Georgia will be the model used to seize all land useful for dairying, across the southeastern U.S.  Once this model begins systematically being put in place in the Southeastern states, the elimination of dairy herds in the rest of the nation will begin in earnest.  All milk will be produced in this one geographical area. 

It appears that not only is there a concerted effort afoot in Georgia to convert dairy production to an industrialized corporate complex, but at the same time a massive battle is being fought in the northeast by small and independent dairy producers being driven out of business by corporate mergers designed to prevent them from conducting their businesses, forcing this market into industrialization. 

The Sherman Act and Anti trust More

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