Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, Farm Action, joined by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), submitted a comment to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in support of its proposal to improve Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notification rules for the first time in 45 years. Citing the domination of agriculture by consolidated oligopolies, Farm Action’s comment provides a legal framework and economic rationale for requiring merging parties to provide more comprehensive information about their prior acquisitions, corporate structures, strategic rationale for merging, and geographic overlaps in order to identify potential threats to competition.
“Consolidation has become a defining trait of the food system across all stages of production — globally, nationally, and regionally — and the trend towards further consolidation shows no signs of slowing down. Major mergers and acquisitions, with industry-shaping consequences, are proceeding,” Farm Action’s comment says. “[W]e applaud the FTC’s proposal, which would provide the agency with new and necessary tools to fight key threats to competition in agriculture markets going forward.”
Farm Action’s comment closes by encouraging the FTC to “quickly adopt these proposed changes, allowing those charged with enforcing our antitrust laws to effectively challenge deals that might harm competition and negatively impact American farmers, ranchers, and consumers.”