Varney promotes fairness in dairy industry at USDA/DOJ ag competition workshop

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 25 – Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney was in Madison, Wisconsin Friday to discuss the important issues facing the dairy industry and what the government might be able to do to help. At the third joint USDA/Department of Justice (DOJ) workshop on agriculture competition issues, Varney said DOJ wants to promote fairness in the dairy industry.

I have heard personally from so many farmers struggling to maintain a way of life their family—and this nation—has known for generations,” said Varney. “American agriculture provides the livelihood for an enormous portion of the workforce, and sustenance for the rest. We should remember that American agriculture puts food on the table of American families, and that we have the ingenuity, productivity, and efficiency of its farmers to thank.”

The DOJ has been working closely with the USDA. Varney said the two have recently formed a task force to examine ways to better promote healthy competition in agriculture, including reviewing the Packers and Stockyards Act, one of the nation’s most historic competition laws.

She noted they have already taken some important steps to protect consumers, while keeping in mind the comments they have heard from farmers.

We know that dairy farmers are concerned about a lack of choices for buyers, about the way that their milk is priced, and about a year of dispiriting returns for their labors,” concluded Varney. “It is my hope that today’s conversations will allow us to bring attention and clarity to these issues, and help us to think hard about the role that the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture can play in promoting the health and competitiveness of dairy markets in these economic times.”

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