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Chick-News.com Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

States Attorneys General Join DOJ in AgriStats® Litigation

11/13/2023

Jonathan Kanter, U. S. Assistant Attorney General responsible for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, has announced that the Attorneys General of Minnesota, California, North Carolina and Tennessee are joining the civil action against AgriStats, Inc.  The company is charged with violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act “by collecting and distributing competitively sensitive price information, cost, work compensation and output among meat and poultry processors”.  It is generally accepted that AgriStats information is available to and used by the majority of U. S. broiler, pork and turkey producers.

 

The Department of Justice alleges that the comprehensive reports collated and distributed by AgriStats were applied by subscribers to limit production and hence, raise prices.

 

This misperception was reinforced in a statement by Rob Bonta, Attorney General for the state of California, who opined without justification, “Because of AgriStats’ business practices, Californians have been paying more for chicken, pork and turkey meat.”  He added, “Agricultural markets are the lifeblood of the California economy and the cost of putting dinner on the table matters to every family in this state.”

 

In reality, all segments of the meat production industry in the U. S. compete vigorously.  Agri Stats data is essentially historical and the comprehensive figures, irrespective of validity, are left to subscribers to interpret and to make their independent decisions.  The cyclic nature of earnings as posted by public quoted companies, including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and previously before de-listing, Sanderson Farms, Inc. suggests that there was no collusion based on actual expansion rates and profitability among the companies, all apparently presented with the same information.


 
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