The Department of Justice and USDA have updated the schedule and panelists for the first joint public workshop exploring competition and regulatory issues in agriculture. It will be held on March 12, in Ankeny, Iowa, at the FFA Enrichment Center at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

The workshops, which were first announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Aug. 5, 2009, are the first joint Department of Justice/USDA workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals are to promote dialogue among interested parties and foster learning with respect to the appropriate legal and economic analyses of these issues, as well as to listen to and learn from parties with experience in the agriculture sector. Attendance at the workshops is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in attending the initial workshop should pe-register

Holder, Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division Christine Varney will participate in the workshop and will be joined by Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. They will participate in a roundtable discussion with presentations on current issues affecting farmers. Testimony and roundtable discussion by a panel of farmers will follow. The workshop also will feature two panels focusing on the competitive dynamics in the seed industry and trends in contracting, transparency and buyer power. The first day of the workshops will end with an enforcer roundtable and public testimony.

The workshop schedule follows:

Opening Remarks (9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. CST)


Roundtable Discussion and Presentation of Issues (9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. CST)

Coffee Break (10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. CST)

Farmer Testimony and Roundtable Discussion (11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. CST)

Lunch (12:15 p.m. CST - 1:15 p.m. CST)

Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel (1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. CST)

Agricultural Trends Panel (2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. CST)

Coffee Break (3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CST)

Enforcer Roundtable Discussion Panel (3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST)

Public Testimony (4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CST)

This is an opportunity for those in the audience to make comments in an open forum.

Closing Remarks (5:30 p.m. CST)

Additional updates and information will be posted on the Antitrust Division's agriculture workshop Web site.  While no streaming Web cast will be available, transcripts will be available for review at a later date on the Antitrust Division's Web site. Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact

Source: DOJ, USDA