Today, the Department of Justice announced the agenda for the dairy hearing to be held next Friday, June 25th, in Madison, Wisconson to address issues of monopoly abuses in the dairy industry. As the third of five announced joint workshops held with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the dairy workshop promises to be more robust and potentially emotional as dairy farmers have faced a cripling economic crisis for the past 18 months, which has seen the price they are paid for their milk drop between 40 to 50% since December 2008.
Abuses in the dairy industry are so rife that the DOJ has already filed two antitrust suits. in October 2009, the DOJ launched a suit against Dean Foods, the nation's largest processor of fluid milk and Dariy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest dairy cooperative, for monopolistic practices against New England dairy farrmers, a region where Dean Food controls 70% of the fluid milk market. Three months later, on January 22nd, Dean Foods landed in the DOJ crosshairs once again, challenging its purchase of Foremost Farms. The DOJ contends that the merger "eliminates substantial competition between the two companies in the sale of milk to schools, grocery stores, convenience stores and other retailers in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin".
The confirmed star studded line-up includes two cabinet members, one U.S. Senator, three U.S. House of Representatives and one governor among many others. Highlights include: