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Agricultural News

Competition Workshop Agenda Includes Oklahoma Influence

Sun, 22 Aug 2010 14:38:15 CDT

Competition Workshop Agenda Includes Oklahoma Influence U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice have announced the agenda and panelists for the Aug. 27, 2010, joint public workshop in Fort Collins, Colo., on competition in the livestock industry. This is the fourth in a series of five public workshops. This workshop is focused on the state of competition and regulation in the livestock sectors, in particular the cattle industry. A pair of Oklahomans will offer their comments during the panels in the afternoon- and two players from the Southern Plains feedlot business will bring their perspective to the session as well. Dr. Clem Ward of Oklahoma State University has extensively studied the concentration issue and has some of the most definitive work on that subject for the US Beef cattle industry. Dr. Ward is on the panel that has been asked to address the issues associated with contracting, price transparency and the effects of concentration. Later in the day, Okmulgee Rancher Bob Miller representing the Intertribal Ag Council will also be a part of a panel that will address market structure issues in the livestock industry.

From the Southern Plains Cattle Feeding industry- James Herring of Friona Industries as well as Bruce Cobb, General Manager of Consolidated Beef Producers are both on the same panel as Bob Miller.

The workshop will be held in the main ballroom of the Lory Student Center, Colorado State University, 1101 Centre Avenue Mall, Fort Collins. Attendance is free and open to the public. The workshop will begin with opening remarks and a roundtable discussion including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division Christine Varney. They will be joined by U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp and Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock.

Following this introductory discussion, there will be three panels composed of ranchers, farmers, academics and other industry stakeholders. First, Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Varney will moderate a conversation among producers and feeders. Second, a panel on trends will look at developments in the industry in recent decades and the trajectory moving forward. The final panel will then discuss in greater depth issues such as contracting, transparency and vertical integration.

Additionally, there will be three hours dedicated to public testimony. This will be split into two sessions, one at mid-day and the other after the final panel.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

8:30 a.m 8:45 a.m. MDT Opening Remarks

Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

8:45 a.m. 9:45 a.m. MDT Keynote Roundtable Discussion
Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Betsy Markey, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives
Bill Ritter Jr., Governor, state of Colorado
John Suthers, Attorney General, state of Colorado
Steve Bullock, Attorney General, state of Montana
John Stulp, Commissioner of Agriculture, state of Colorado

9:45 a.m. 10:15 a.m. MDT Coffee Break

10:15 a.m. 11:45 a.m. MDT Producer/Feeder Presentation of Issues
This panel will be an opportunity to hear first-hand from producers or feeders as they share their experiences and perspectives on the industry.
Moderators: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Mike Harper, sheep producer, Eaton, Colo.
Dr. Taylor Haynes, rancher, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Robbie LeValley, rancher, Hotchkiss, Colo.
Harry Livermont, rancher, Interior, S.D.
Chris Petersen, hog farmer, Clear Lake, Iowa
Allen Sents, feedlot owner, Marquette, Kan.
Alden Zuhlke, rancher, Brunswick, Neb.

11:45 a.m. 12:30 p.m. MDT Lunch

12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony

1:30 p.m. 2:45 p.m. MDT Panel I Trends in the Livestock Industry
This panel will discuss trends in the livestock industry, including issues associated with contracting, price transparency and the effects of concentration.
Moderator: Philip Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S.
Department of Justice
Jerry Bohn, general manager, Pratt Feeders, Pratt, Kan.
Libby Cook, co-founder, Wild Oats Markets and Sunflower Farmers Markets
Mark Greenwood, vice president, commercial lending, AgStar Financial Services

Bill Heffernan, professor emeritus of rural sociology, University of Missouri
Mark Lauritsen, international vice president, director food processing, packing and
manufacturing division, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
Gilles Stockton, rancher, Range, Mont.
Armando Valdez, rancher, La Jara, Colo.
Clem Ward, professor and extension economist, Oklahoma State University

2:45 p.m. 4:00 p.m. MDT Panel II Market Structure
This panel will include a variety of market participants who will discuss market structure issues in the livestock industry.
Moderator: James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Bruce Cobb, general manager, Consolidated Beef Producers
David Domina, attorney, Domina Law Group
Mark Dopp, attorney, American Meat Institute
James Herring, president and chief executive officer, Friona Industries
Robert Mack, cattle producer/feeder, Watertown, S.D.
Bob Miller, rancher, Okmulgee, Okla.
William Rishel, Richel Angus, Platt, Neb.
Charlie Rogers, owner/general manager, Clovis Livestock Auction

4:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m. MDT Break

4:15 p.m. 6:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony

6:30 p.m. MDT Concluding Remarks

Additional information, including submitted public comments and transcripts for past workshops can be found at the Antitrust Division's agriculture workshop website here.



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