At Schumer's Urging, Nation's Top Antitrust Investigator Will Come to New York To Hear About the Complaints of Lack of Competition in the New York Dairy Industry and Wide Disparity in Rock-Bottom Prices Paid to Farmers versus Relatively High Prices Consumers Pay at Stores Schumer: Ensuring Competitive Markets is Key to Maintaining a Vibrant Dairy Industry and Preserving Family

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Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, at his urging, Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division, will come to Batavia, New York to meet with upstate New York dairy farmers and consumers to explore potential anticompetitive practices in the dairy industry.  Varney is the nation's top antitrust investigator and she is coming to New York following a request by Schumer. The specific areas of focus include excessive market concentration, marketplace transparency and vertical integration in the dairy industry. Schumer will join Varney at the meeting on Monday, March 29 th at the Genesee Community College in Batavia. During the meeting, constituents will be able to make statements and share their concerns with the Assistant Attorney General Varney.


 "For too long farmers have been receiving rockbottom prices for their product, while prices have not dropped commensurately for consumers at the stores," Schumer said. "It just doesn't add up and we need DOJ's help to peel this onion and identify some of the problems plaguing our family dairy farmers and milk consumers. New York's dairy industry has suffered tremendously in the past few years and, as I travel throughout the state, I've heard from constituents who are concerned that the state of competition in New York's dairy industry may be playing a role. The Department of Justice is doing the right thing by sending the nation's top antitrust investigator to New York to discuss this vital issues with the people whose livelihoods depend on a fair and competitive market."


Nationwide, dairy prices hit historic lows last year, threatening the viability of countless dairy farms. At the same time, the amount of revenue dairy farmers receive per dollar consumers spend on milk has precipitously declined. Although the price that dairy farmers are paid remains lower than in nearly four decades, less than $1 for a gallon of milk in past summers, the cost that consumers pay for milk in stores remains relatively high.  As a result of these plunging prices, family dairy farms across the country have gone out of business or are in severe danger of doing so.  This is a disaster not only for the thousands of rural communities that rely on economic activity generated by the dairy industry but also for the many consumers who want fresh and locally produced food. Further, a reduction in the diversity of wholesale milk suppliers could lead to further concentration in the dairy industry, concentrating market share - and pricing power - in the hands of a very few operations, an outcome that would weaken the interests of both dairy farmers and consumers.


In an effort to reduce the pressure on struggling dairy farmers, Schumer has repeatedly called on the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to take a hard look at the dairy industry and identify where the problems lay.  In response to Schumer's urging, the nation's top antitrust official will be coming to New York State to meet with dairy farmers and consumers to explore this problem.


Schumer added, "Dairy is among New York's most important industries and we simply can't afford to lose dairy farms or the products they supply. We must work to ensure a fair and competitive dairy market."

New York dairy producers and others involved in the industry will be able to participate by submitting a statement to Schumer's office to be forwarded to Ms. Varney, or delivering a brief 45 minute statement at the event.

To attend, RSVP with your name, email address and phone number to dairymeeting_schumer@schumer.senate.gov no later than March 24th. You must RSVP if you would like to attend the session with Ms. Varney.

If you wish to speak at the event, include in your RSVP email a brief outline of what you would like to discuss.

You may also send a written statement to be forwarded to the Department of Justice.

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