Agenda Set for March 12 Ag Concentration Workshop in Iowa

February 23, 2010 06:00 PM

Roger Bernard, Farm Journal Policy & Washington Editor

The agenda and list of panelists for the first workshop on competition and regulatory issues in agriculture has been set by USDA and the Department of Justice. The first session is March 12 in Ankeny, Iowa, at the Des Moines Area Community College's FFA Enrichment Center.

"The goals of the workshops 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," according to a USDA/DOJ release.

The general public and media interested in attending the initial workshop should register at

Among those participating in this first workshop will be USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Christine Varney. Also appearing will be Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), although the latter two are listed as "tentative" in the USDA announcement.

Here's the schedule for the session:

Opening Remarks (9:00 - 9:15 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Roundtable Discussion and Presentation of Issues (9:15 - 11:30 a.m. CST)

Tom Miller, Attorney General, State of Iowa
Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture, State of Iowa
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) (tentative)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (tentative)
Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) (tentative)

Invited: Chet Culver, Governor, State of Iowa

A farmer roundtable discussion and testimony will also be given at this time. Farmer panelists will be posted on the Web site at a later date.

Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel (1:00 - 2:15 p.m. CST)

Moderator: James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, USDA's Economic Research Service

Ray Gaesser, Soybean and Corn Farmer, Corning, Iowa; Vice President, American Soybean Association; Former President, Iowa Soybean Association
Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Member of the Iowa Bar
Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics and Finance, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University
Diana Moss, Vice President & Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute
Jim Tobin, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Monsanto Company

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

Moderator: Phil Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Brian Buhr, Professor and Head of Department, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California
Davis Mary Hendrickson, Extension Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
John Lawrence, Professor of Economics, Iowa State University
Chuck Wirtz, Pork Producer, Whittemore, Iowa
Patrick Woodall, Research Director, Food & Water Watch

Enforcer Roundtable Discussion Panel (3:30  - 4:15 p.m. CST)

Moderator: Mark Tobey, Special Counsel for State Relations and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Justice

Steve Bullock, Attorney General, State of Montana
Richard Cordray, Attorney General, State of Ohio
John Ferrell, Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Stephen Obie, Director, Division of Enforcement, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
William Stallings, Assistant Section Chief, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Public Testimony (4:15  - 5:15 p.m. CST)

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

Additional updates and information will be posted on the Antitrust Division's agriculture workshop Web site at

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.

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