In a press report last week, the Justice Department's special counsel on agriculture said in regard to the proposed acquisition of several beef packing companies that a high level of concentration alone does not necessarily constitute a violation of the nation's anti-trust laws. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says the remarks underscore the need to take a hard look at the anti-trust laws as they relate to agriculture, mergers and acquisitions.
"The proposed acquisition by JBS should send up a red flag for additional scrutiny at the Justice Department," Grassley says. "Independent producers, family farmers, maybe you can say all agriculture groups share my concern about the potential pitfalls with the JBS transaction, including reduced market opportunity for independent producers and obviously fewer choices and higher costs for American consumers."
Despite Justice Department officials saying they will listen to the agricultural community's concerns, Grassley says it looks like it's going to be business as usual. So he has renewed his request for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on agriculture competition issues.
"It's important for the Judiciary Committee to discuss solutions to agriculture competition and review potentially problematic mergers such as the JBS one," Grassley says.