AFR Applauds DOJ Expansion to Focus on Agriculture Issues

Press Releases
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OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division announced a significant expansion of its efforts to address agricultural issues, with a plan to increase staffing dedicated to civil and criminal enforcement in the sector. Michael Kades, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Antitrust Division, made this announcement at R-CALF USA’s 2024 Annual National Convention June 21 in Deadwood, S.D.

The DOJ intends to expand hiring of lawyers for its Chicago office; they will primarily focus on antitrust, competition and fairness issues within agricultural supply chains. This new team, the first of its kind in the Midwest, will be tasked with enforcing laws related to agriculture.

American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Cooperative has been a longtime, steadfast supporter of increased antitrust enforcement, particularly regarding the agriculture sector. AFR Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh believes the new Chicago-based DOJ antitrust, competition and fairness team is a significant step in the right direction: “DOJ’s increased interest in agriculture is very encouraging. Agriculture antitrust has taken a backseat in recent decades, but we’re glad to see the industry’s monopolies facing scrutiny once again. The monopolistic practices that have made our markets dysfunctional for so long have caught the attention of today’s DOJ. We hope their increased focus on agriculture improves competition in the marketplace and provides opportunity for family farms to be profitable once again.”

American Farmers & Ranchers Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR principles.