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Leahy, Grassley want action on agricultural competitiveness

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the new ranking member of the committee, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today to ask what steps they plan to take on competitiveness issues in agriculture after holding a series of workshops on the subject last year.

“The agriculture industry has consolidated to the point where family farmers, independent producers and other smaller market participants do not have equal access to fair and competitive markets,” Grassley said in a news release. “Increased concentration in agriculture will lead to fewer product choices and higher product prices for the American consumer.

“The workshops offered a chance for people involved in the ag industry to voice their concerns and provide comment. It was a strong signal that the two agencies were communicating about this important issue. Now, it’s time to take another step forward.”

Vilsack’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.