US Att'y General, Sec'y of Agriculture to Discuss Dairy Markets at UW

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit the UW-Madison campus for a workshop on competition and regulation in the dairy industry.  The UW Law School assisted in arranging the event, which will be held Friday, June 25th, in Union Theater, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street.

The workshop is the third of five jointly held by the Justice Department and the Department of Agriculture.  Each workshop is free and open to the public, although registration is requested.

UW's Peter Carstensen, the George Young-Bascom Professor of Law, played a role in bringing the workshop to the University of Wisconsin.

"This is a very important workshop, and is is part of a series that the USDOJ and USDA are holding concerning agricultural market issues.  The dairy industry in particular faces serious issues related to both competition (antitrust) and regulation (the milk market order system)," Professor Carstensen said.  "The UW and Wisconsin are honored by the decision to have the workshop in Madison and on campus.  My hope is that there will be a very good turnout of all those engaged in the dairy industry to share their views with the folks from Washington."

The workshop will begin with a roundtable discussion.  In addition to General Holder and Secretary Vilsack, the roundtable discussion will include Christine Varney, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.  Several other state and national policymakers have accepted invitations to join the roundtable discussion, including Governor Jim Doyle, state Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen, U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russell Feingold; and U.S. Representatives Steve Kagen and Tammy Baldwin.  Representatives Thomas Petri and David Obey also have been invited.

The first workshop in the series was held in Ankeny, Iowa, in March and focussed on row crops and hogs.  The second workshop, with a focus on poultry, took place last month in Normal, Alabama.  Future workshops will address the livestock industry in Fort Collins, Colorado, and margins in agriculture in Washington, D.C.

With its "Law in Action" approach, the UW Law School makes for a good partner for the federal agencies holding the workshop.

"This is a unique project involving collaboration between two major government departments that are seeking to get a better understanding of the realities of the markets for agricultural products by listening to those who actually produce and process our food," Professor Carstensen said.

In addition to the roundtable discussion, the workshop will feature panel discussions with farmers, processors, academics, and other dairy industry stakeholders.  For more information, visit the Antitrust Division's website, or e-mail

Submitted by UW Law School News on June 24, 2010

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