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The Department of Justice has continued the public side of its investigation into possible antitrust violations in the agriculture business. In early March, the DOJ went to Iowa, where the agency’s lawyers heard about seed monopolies and contract hog raising. This week, Christine A. Varney, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division (above) listened to dairy farmers in New York State as they described the lack of competition in milk markets, according to a story in the Buffalo News written by Phil Fairbanks.
“We want and need to be able to control our family farm’s destiny,” Jeremy Verratti, a dairy farmer in Gasport, said during a meeting at Genesee Community College. “We want to stay dairy farmers and we want to stay in Gasport.” New York Sen. Charles Schumer noted that farmers “are getting paid less and consumers are paying more…Someone is walking away with all the money.”
Varney and DOJ attorneys plan to visit other milk producing states, such as Vermont and Wisconsin. They will hear other farmers who contend that a lack of competition for milk is driving prices down. At one point, Varney acknowledged the crisis in dairy country, according to Fairbanks. “We will not let you down,” she said. “We know the problem you’re facing.”