Deputy Assistant Attorney General Philip Weiser went to the home last week of the world's biggest, baddest high tech seed seller to serve notice that it and other Big Ag firms will soon get a well baby check up. A not very friendly one.
Mr. Weiser spoke at the 11th annual conference of the Organization for Competitive Markets — a farmers group — in St. Louis, MO. He titled his remarks "Toward a Competitive Policy Agenda for Agriculture Markets".
Did DAAG Weiser hint at which Particular Market Segments the Antitrust Division would look? Yes, yes, he did:
For many farmers and consumer advocates, we understand that there are concerns regarding the levels of concentration in the seed industry–particularly for corn and soybeans. In studying this market, we will evaluate the emerging industry structure, explore whether new entrants are able to introduce innovations, and examine any practices that potentially threaten competition.
Let me mention two other industry segments that will receive attention. First, we recognize that the dairy market has experienced considerable consolidation over the past decade and there are questions about the state of competition in that market. Second, as I noted above, livestock markets, such as the beef market evaluated in the JBS/National merger, are ones where the Division is keeping a close watch. In analyzing developments in these markets, we are cognizant of the fact that competition is frequently local or regional in nature, meaning that the nature and extent of competition-related concerns will differ across different parts of the country and that broad national statistics can be misleading.