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U. S. Sets Competition Meetings

The Obama administration will hold workshops in 2010 in Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama, Colorado on fair play and concentration in agricultural marketing, officials said on Friday.

After sessions in farm country, the all-day hearings will conclude with a meeting in Washington on the spread between prices received by farmers and those paid by consumers for food. Farmers get 19 cents of each dollar spent on food.

Workshops were scheduled for:

March 12, Ankeny, Iowa, on “issues of concern to farmers,” focusing on crop farmers and including seed technology, vertical integration, market transparency and buyer power.

May 21, Normal, Alabama, on poultry issues such as use of production contracts, concentration and buyer power.

June 7, Madison, Wisconsin, on dairy issues including concentration, marketplace transparency and vertical integration.

Aug 26, Fort Collins, Colorado, on livestock issues including concentration and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Dec 8, Washington, on “margins” in food production.

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