Announcement of $15 million available for state AGs to partner with USDA
DES MOINES – Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement making $15 million available to state attorneys general to increase collaboration with USDA on antitrust enforcement. State attorneys general will be able to submit requests for funding and partner with USDA to secure America’s food systems through more rigorous enforcement of competition laws. President Biden made the announcement Monday at a meeting of the White House Competition Council.
The news follows a December 21, 2021 letter that Miller, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 16 attorneys general, sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack with recommendations to improve competition in the livestock industry. In the letter, the AGs recommended allowing state attorneys general to use funds appropriated by Congress for food and agriculture supply-chain resilience toward supporting state antitrust enforcement efforts and increase partnership opportunities between state attorneys general and federal agencies.
“Promoting competition and protecting consumers has always been a priority for this office,” Miller said. “With this increased funding and collaboration, we can continue vital work to protect Iowa farmers and improve our economy by ensuring fair and robust competition in meat processing. We can also ensure that our consumers pay fair prices for the food they purchase.”
The new partnerships that this funding will facilitate will assist state AGs in tackling anticompetitive practices in the agricultural sector and related industries that are contributing to heightened inflationary pressures, lack of choices for consumers and farmers, and conflicts of interest and anticompetitive barriers across the food and agriculture supply chains.
Specifically, this initiative will improve state AG capacity to conduct on-the-ground investigations of agricultural competition issues, enhance coordination between federal and state agriculture and competition enforcement authorities, and create new and more independent research programs.
Iowa’s agriculture industry exports $6.56 billion worth of goods each year, according to Feeding the Economy. The industry provides more than 315,000 jobs and generates $88.30 billion annually in total economic impact.
Joining Miller in sending the December 2021 letter to Secretary Vilsack were Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill, and the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah.