Agenda for Aug. 27 USDA/DOJ livestock competition workshop in Colorado

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Aug. 20 – USDA and the Justice Department announced Friday the agenda and panelists for the Aug. 27 joint public workshop in Fort Collins, CO on competition in the livestock industry. This is the fourth in a series of five public workshops. This workshop is focused on the state of competition and regulation in the livestock sectors, in particular the cattle industry.

The workshop will be held in the main ballroom of the Lory Student Center, Colorado State University, 1101 Centre Avenue Mall, Fort Collins. Attendance is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in attending the Colorado workshop should register at

The workshop will begin with opening remarks and a roundtable discussion including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division Christine Varney. They will be joined by Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp, and Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock.

Following this introductory discussion, there will be three panels composed of ranchers, farmers, academics and other industry stakeholders. First, Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Varney will moderate a conversation among producers and feeders. Second, a panel on trends will look at developments in the industry in recent decades and the trajectory moving forward. The final panel will then discuss in greater depth issues such as contracting, transparency and vertical integration.

Additionally, there will be three hours dedicated to public testimony. This will be split into two sessions, one at mid-day and the other after the final panel. -

The schedule for the day is as follows -

8:30 a.m – 8:45 a.m. MDT Opening Remarks -

Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. MDT Keynote Roundtable Discussion -

Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Betsy Markey, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives

Bill Ritter Jr., Governor, state of Colorado

John Suthers, Attorney General, state of Colorado

Steve Bullock, Attorney General, state of Montana

John Stulp, Commissioner of Agriculture, state of Colorado

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. MDT Coffee Break -

10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. MDT Producer/Feeder Presentation of Issues -

This panel will be an opportunity to hear first-hand from producers or feeders as they share their experiences and perspectives on the industry.

Moderators: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Mike Harper, sheep producer, Eaton, Colo.

Dr. Taylor Haynes, rancher, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Robbie LeValley, rancher, Hotchkiss, Colo.

Harry Livermont, rancher, Interior, S.D.

Chris Petersen, hog farmer, Clear Lake, Iowa

Allen Sents, feedlot owner, Marquette, Kan.

Alden Zuhlke, rancher, Brunswick, Neb.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. MDT Lunch -

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony -

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. MDT Panel I – Trends in the Livestock Industry -

This panel will discuss trends in the livestock industry, including issues associated with contracting, price transparency and the effects of concentration.

Moderator: Philip Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Jerry Bohn, general manager, Pratt Feeders, Pratt, Kan.

Libby Cook, co-founder, Wild Oats Markets and Sunflower Farmers Markets

Mark Greenwood, vice president, commercial lending, AgStar Financial Services

Bill Heffernan, professor emeritus of rural sociology, University of Missouri

Mark Lauritsen, international vice president, director food processing, packing and manufacturing division, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Gilles Stockton, rancher, Range, Mont.

Armando Valdez, rancher, La Jara, Colo.

Clem Ward, professor and extension economist, Oklahoma State University

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. MDT Panel II – Market Structure -

This panel will include a variety of market participants who will discuss market structure issues in the livestock industry.

Moderator: James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Bruce Cobb, general manager, Consolidated Beef Producers

David Domina, attorney, Domina Law Group

Mark Dopp, attorney, American Meat Institute

James Herring, president and chief executive officer, Friona Industries

Robert Mack, cattle producer/feeder, Watertown, S.D.

Bob Miller, rancher, Okmulgee, Okla.

William Rishel, Richel Angus, Platt, Neb.

Charlie Rogers, owner/general manager, Clovis Livestock Auction

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. MDT Break -

4:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony -

6:30 p.m. MDT Concluding Remarks -

Additional information, including submitted public comments and transcripts for past workshops can be found at the Antitrust Division’s agriculture workshop website at While no streaming webcast will be available, transcripts and video will be available for this workshop at a later date on the Antitrust Division’s website. Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact

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