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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the limited antitrust exemption provided to agricultural cooperatives under the Capper-Volstead Act, particularly as it pertains to the dairy industry.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress should closely monitor USDA actions and, if USDA does not initiate active monitoring of cooperative activities, Congress should consider assigning regulatory responsibility for cooperative pricing activities to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If Congress assigns this responsibility to FTC, Section 20 should not be extended for subsequent fiscal years.
Closed - Not Implemented
USDA is currently monitoring cooperative activities thus obviating the need for action by others.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should direct his contingency committee that oversees Capper-Volstead to actively monitor cooperative pricing activities.
Closed - Implemented
USDA is currently monitoring cooperative pricing activities. USDA and the Department of Justice have implemented improved information sharing policies and practices. USDA has taken administrative actions against dairy cooperatives found guilty of inappropriate use of market power.

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