On March 12, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will hold their first-ever joint workshop to explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. Speakers will include Christine Varney, the Department of Justice's assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

According to the Associated Press, some members of the Obama administration are concerned with the effect that consolidation among agribusinesses could have on the national food supply.


The workshop will be held in Ankeny, Iowa, at the Des Moines Area Community College's FFA Enrichment Center. Registration is free and open to the public.

This is the first of five workshops scheduled for 2010. The Ankeny workshop will include two panels focusing on competitive dynamics in the seed industry and trends in contracting, transparency and buyer power. It will end with an enforcer roundtable and public testimony. A full schedule is available on the Department of Justice Web site.