Today Farm Action submitted a public comment to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in strong support of the agencies’ updated merger guidelines, proposed in July of 2023.
“Today, with the adoption of the [new guidelines], the Biden administration finally turns the page on this decades-long, bipartisan abdication of responsibility for the enforcement of our antitrust laws — and revitalizes a critical protection for the liberty and welfare of America’s farmers and workers, consumers and small businesses,” Farm Action’s comment states. “We applaud the Antitrust Agencies for taking this historic step.”
Providing a comprehensive overview of the organization of farms, structure of industry, and prevailing anticompetitive trends across the agricultural economy, Farm Action’s comment lays out the legal justification for these updated guidelines and demonstrates their urgency for farmers, ranchers, and consumers.
Farm Action’s comment then urges the DOJ and FTC “to stand firmly as a bulwark against the further concentration of power and the deterioration of competition in our food system.”
For years, Farm Action has worked to advance competition reform in agriculture markets at the federal level. Recent actions by Farm Action include:
- Following the release of Farm Action’s transition plan for the Biden-Harris administration, administration officials thanked Farm Action leadership for “writing the playbook” to improve competition in agriculture. Key components of this plan were incorporated into the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.
- In January 2022, the FTC and DOJ issued the first request for information on merger enforcement. Farm Action’s comment sets out the legal and factual case for ending a 40-year failed experiment in antitrust law enforcement.
- On July 17 of this year, Farm Action and Open Markets Institute released their second annual report card grading the progress made by the USDA, FTC, and DOJ toward goals set forth in the executive order on competition.
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