U.S. Attorney General, Sec. of Ag. Outline Plan to Protect Against Anticompetitive Practices

On Monday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at a White House event focused on competition in agriculture, in which they reaffirmed their support for food producers and that they will be protected to the fullest extent under the law from anticompetitive practices. They outlined a plan to protect producers and to create a streamlined process to submit complaints.

Together, the Secretary and Attorney General detailed a list of commitments to producers. First and foremost, the Department of Justice promised to protect all farmers, ranchers and producers from unfair competition through appropriate legal avenues. Furthermore, they will create a “centralized, accessible process for farmers, ranchers, and other producers and growers to submit complaints about potential violations of the antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act” and to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers as much as possible under the law.

The two agencies will also develop processes to share information with one another and will commit “to vigorously enforce the laws that protect farmers, ranchers, and other producers and growers from unfair, deceptive, discriminatory, and anticompetitive practices.”

The USDA and DOJ will also work together to recommend any laws that Congress may pass to protect food producers further. Secretary Vilsack proclaimed, “Producers all across the country for too long have faced a marketplace that benefits a few large companies over those who are growing our food.” Anticompetitive practices grew throughout the pandemic, and these agencies seek to turn the scale back in the favor of workers to “protect consumers, safeguard competition, and ensure economic opportunity and fairness for all.”