An estimated crowd of about 1,300 people attended the fourth of five USDA-DOJ workshops to explore the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in American agriculture. This event was held Friday at Ft. Collins, Colorado, on the campus of Colorado State University. This workshop, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, examined competition in the livestock industry and featured panel discussions on trends in the livestock industry, market consolidation and market transparency. The workshop also included opportunities for public comments.
In prepared remarks, Vilsack said that given the consolidation that has taken place in the livestock industry over the past decades, it is critical to ensure a fair market still exists to give all players an honest chance at success. The Ag Secretary went on to say that a fair and competitive marketplace is important not only for producers, but also for consumers, and the open and transparent dialogue with ranchers, farmers, academics and other industry stakeholders will provide a understanding of the complex issues in this important industry.
"Ultimately, today's conversation is about much more than simply last year's trends or this year's challenges," Holder said. "It's about livelihoods, families, this region's economy and our centuries-old American way of life. We've made these workshops a cabinet-level priority so we can most effectively and efficiently determine how to ensure a fairer, more competitive marketplace for producers and consumers alike."