Justice, USDA set workshop dates

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					                                                                                              U.S. biomass industry, they said.
                                                                                                  The projects will produce
       Justice, USDA set workshop dates                                                       advanced biofuels, biopower and
                                                                                              bioproducts using biomass
    The U.S. Department of Justice and USDA have announced the dates and                      feedstocks at the pilot,
locations of joint public workshops that will explore competition and regulatory              demonstration and full-commercial
issues in the agriculture industry. The workshops are the first joint Justice/USDA            scale. The projects are part of the
workshops ever held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture           ongoing effort to reduce U.S.
industry.                                                                                     dependence on foreign oil, spur the
    The workshops will address the dynamics of competition in agriculture markets,            creation of the domestic bio-
including buyer power (monopsony) and vertical integration. They will examine legal           industry and provide new jobs in
doctrines and provide an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, consumer groups,                  many rural areas of the country.
processors, agribusiness and other interested parties to provide examples of                     Vilsack also noted that USDA
potentially anti-competitive conduct and to discuss any concerns about the                    Rural Development has selected San
application of the antitrust laws to the agricultural sectors.                                Diego, Calif.-based Sapphire Energy
    Some of the issues to be examined are: the impact of agriculture concentration            to receive a non-ARRA loan
on food costs; the effect of agricultural regulatory statutes or other applicable laws        guarantee for up to $54.5 million
and programs on competition, and issues relating to patents and intellectual                  through the Biorefinery Assistance
property affecting agricultural marketing or production. Market practices will also be        Program to demonstrate an
examined, including price spreads, forward contracts, packer ownership of livestock           integrated algal biorefinery process.
before slaughter, market transparency and increasing retailer concentration                   The process will cultivate algae in
    Each workshop will feature keynote speakers, general expert panels and break-             ponds, and will use de-watering and
out panels that will address more narrowly focused issues. At each workshop, the              oil-extraction technology to produce
public will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. The                    an intermediate that will then be
workshop discussions will be transcribed and placed on the public record, along               processed into drop-in green fuels
with submissions and written comments received.                                               such as jet fuel and diesel. The
    Dates and topics for the workshops are:                                                   actual project will be constructed in
• March 12, 2010 — Issues of Concern to Farmers; Ankeny, Iowa. This session will              Columbus, N.M.
  serve as an int
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