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U. S. Antitrust Targets Seed, Livestock, Ag Markets

U. S. antitrust experts will examine controls on how livestock markets operate, concentration in the seed industry and transparency in agricultural markets, a senior Justice Department official said Aug. 7.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Philip Weiser detailed areas that the Justice and Agriculture departments plan to review in a series of public workshops beginning in early 2010.

The workshops will examine the “buyer power” that results when a few processors dominate a market, the impact on farmers from vertical integration of agricultural production and related topics.

Weiser said an “important area to review” is the 1921 Packers and Stockyards law intended to assure fair prices and competition in livestock sales.

Another area to be examined is concentration in the corn and soybean seed industry, the dairy market and the livestock market, and whether new companies are able to enter those markets.

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