Tom Miller – IA Attorney General
– thanks Vilsack and Holder for creating this new relationship. Great for public interest for many reasons. Antitrust law is fairly limited, and judiciary interpretation even more limited.
Need to look at this from consumer protection law as well as antitrust law.
The states have never had the kind of healthy relationship with fed DOJ as they have right now in this administration. “Trust, cooperation and respect” that is in the public interest.
In IA office they have had an “obsession”, some with examine contract problems in pork producers as well as seed. AG office went to IA legislation with “Growers bill of rights”. They had a small victory in those rights, but not everything they wanted. Did protect farmers from poor contracts, whistle blowing, and release from contracts for getting involved in organizing.
With some other state AGs they have added their comments to federal DOJ on these issues. “seeds, cattle,hogs, dairy, and transportation” are of serious concern to several states. Competition in regards to seeds a particular concern. Mentions recent AP story – in soybeans 95% of soy has RR traits. 67% in corn. Additional the price is a concern, “Monsanto’s place in seed is a competitive issue that needs to be examined.”
– He did call Roundup a “wonderful trait” but other than this lack of understanding his competitive comments were strong.
IA Secretary of Agriculture – Bill Northey
Changes in last 10 years have been fairly dramatic. What’s the impact been on producers from price increases in seeds. 10 year ago – $1billion in seed. Now closer to $2billion, but points out that the “value” of those crops has increased – that this has almost doubled as well. And that new technologies are a part of it. He’s giving the biotech party line – if you get more money out of it than the seed is worth more and so will cost more.
“Don’t want to lose the encouragement for developing new technologies”.
“Seed has increased in value.”
Rise in cost of inputs doesn’t mean that they weren’t worth it, and that there is anticompetitive practices. Everyone should be happy according to this guy as far as seed and other inputs. Farmers are just buying good value.
This guy is a mouthpiece for fertilizer, herbicide, and biotech industry. Farmers I see in my row are fidgeting and scowling more at each word he speaks.
The worst of all speakers in terms of recognizing the issues, much less respecting them.