Farm Progress

USDA looks to increase competition

Vilsack says partnership will lead to fairer markets.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

July 20, 2023

2 Min Read
Tom Vilsack, ag competition partnership
MANDEL NGAN/Contributor/Getty Images Plus

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new partnership with attorneys general in 31 states and the District of Columbia to increase competition within the agriculture sector. The Agriculture Competition Partnership will focus on anticompetitive market structures and practices within agriculture. It will also address the lack of choices for consumers and producers as well as conflicts of interest, misuses of intellectual property and other anticompetitive barriers.

“By placing necessary resources where they are needed most and helping states identify and address anticompetitive and anti-consumer behavior, in partnership with federal authorities, through these cooperative agreements we can ensure a more robust and competitive agricultural sector,” Vilsack says. “I’m pleased to see that a bipartisan group of states have committed to joining USDA in better protecting the fair and competitive markets that are a critical cornerstone of the American economy.”

States participating in the partnership include Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

The agriculture partnership was one of several announcements made Wednesday during a White House Competition Council meeting. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it would address so called “junk fees” that increase apartment application costs. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission vowed tougher rules for corporate mergers.

During the meeting, Vilsack discussed recent efforts to increase meat and poultry processing capacity. He said USDA will soon release new rules under the Packers and Stockyards act that better protect farmers and ranchers from abusive practices.

Also on Wednesday, USDA formally established the Farm Seed Liaison Initiative. It was created in response to recommendations from a recent report on the American seed system. USDA staff, with assistance from partners in the academic community, will work to develop strategies that better connect farmers, plant breeders and other stakeholders. In conjunction with the new seed initiative, USDA also launched a new website to provide additional resources.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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