“From the co-op standpoint, we’ll be very careful to watch for anything in the area of competition – or a competition section of the farm bill.

“The Department of Justice and USDA have been having workshops all over the country to review competition issues in agriculture. Part of that review has (involved) provisions under the Capper-Volstead Act, which is the very limited antitrust exemption that enables co-ops to form without fear of prosecution under U.S. antitrust laws.

“Obviously, any effort to change Capper-Volstead or get into a big debate on competition issues is something we take very seriously. It goes to the heart of co-ops. Without some of the antitrust immunity we’re unable to bring farmers together as a group and market products (collectively).

“We hope the workshops lead to an affirmation that co-ops are doing a good thing versus any recommendations coming out of the DOJ, or elsewhere, that say we need to look at changes in these competition issues.”

Any indication when a decision or statement from the DOJ is coming down?

“Not yet. They’ve held four workshops, so far, in Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama and Colorado. They’ll hold the fifth, and final, workshop in Washington, D.C., in December. After the last workshop, we assume we’ll begin to hear what they intend to do.”

For more, visit http://www.ncfc.org/.

dbennett@farmpress.com