09.15.09

Leahy Sets Judiciary Committee Hearing In St. Albans To Gauge Competition In The Northeast Dairy Market, In The Context Of The Ongoing Dairy Crisis

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is bringing a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to Vermont this weekend to examine the state of competition in the Northeast in the context of the dairy crisis that continues to squeeze dairy farms in Vermont and across the nation.
 
Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has set the hearing for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at the St. Albans City Hall, 100 Main Street, in St. Albans, Vt.  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will join Leahy for the hearing, which is titled: “Crisis On The Farm: The State Of Competition And Prospects For Sustainability In The Northeast Dairy Industry.”  
 
Witnesses will include the new head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Christine Varney.  Three Vermont farmers will also testify, as well as an economist with Agri-Mark dairy cooperative, and the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
In announcing the hearing Leahy said, “Vermont dairy farmers are hurting and there may be anti-competitive forces that have contributed to this crisis.  The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing in St. Albans will look at anti-competitive issues in the Northeast dairy market.  Examining this in the context of the current crisis may illuminate any structural problems that are contributing factors, making them easier to see and diagnose.  We are looking to the agencies that administer our laws to learn whether they have the tools necessary to protect dairy farmers and consumers, and whether those tools can be used to promote sustainability of the family farms that are crucial to our communities and to our state’s economy.  Bringing this hearing to St. Albans will ensure that Vermont’s voice and Vermont’s experience will help inform Congress about these issues.  We want to build a hearing record that will let policymakers in Congress and federal agencies hear directly from the farmers who are coping with this crisis every day.”
 
Only the panelists will offer testimony during the hearing but others are encouraged to attend and to submit written testimony for the record.  This can be done at the hearing, or digitally before or for one week after the hearing by sending to:
                        
Dairy_Hearing@Judiciary-dem.senate.gov
 
(Official Judiciary Committee witness list is below.)

 # # # # #
 
 
Witness List

Hearing before the
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
 
on
 
"Crisis on the Farm: The State of Competition and Prospects for Sustainability in the Northeast Dairy Industry"
 
Saturday, September 19, 2009
St. Albans City Hall
St. Albans, VT
10:00 a.m.
 
Chairman Leahy, Presiding
 
Panel I
 
The Honorable Christine Varney
Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust
Department of Justice
Washington, DC
 
Dr. Joseph Glauber
Chief Economist
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, DC
 
Panel II
 
Bill Rowell
Green Mountain Dairy Farm
Sheldon, VT
Paul Doton
Dolton Farm
Woodstock, VT
 
Travis Forgues
Forgues Family Farm
Alburg, VT
Robert Wellington
Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative
Lawrence, MA

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David Carle: 202-224-3693