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Montana AG seeks comments from producers about unfair competition

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An attorney general is looking for opinions on competition in farming.
An attorney general is looking for opinions on competition in farming.

Like in any other industry, those who use farm equipment are often competing against one another when it comes to the goods they produce.

Recently, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said he is looking for comments from those who use agricultural equipment about unfair competitive behaviors, including those related to buying power and price spreads. Bullock said he is working with both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in planning public workshops to address issues of competition.

"I want to hear directly from folks on the ground about what's affecting their businesses - from the field to the marketplace - and I'll take those concerns to federal officials," Bullock said.

The Montana attorney general's office released a report in February 2009 indicating that a lack of competition in shipping grain by rail cost agriculture producers in the state between $19 million to $50 million every year.

Along with competition, officials at the federal level are holding their own discussions regarding job and economic growth. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that the USDA, along with other agencies, will listen to concerns and thoughts presented from citizens in a series of roundtables in the coming weeks.
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