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Trump’s pick to head DOJ’s Antitrust Division gets confirmation hearing

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, had his confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A coalition of farm, environmental and consumer advocacy groups, including the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Organization for Competitive Markets, wanted the committee to question Delrahim about so-called “mega-mergers” in the ag industry, particularly the proposed merger of Bayer of Monsanto. The ag mergers issue did not come up during the hearing, but Delrahim promised to enforce antitrust laws.

“Anti-trust laws, vigorously and properly enforced, are the greatest protectors of the free market system that we know and cherish in this country,” Delrahim said. “Hard-nosed competition, free from inappropriate restraints, leads to lower prices and higher quality of goods and services for the American consumer—and it also helps encourage technological innovation.”

In a news release distributed prior to the hearing, NFU president Roger Johnson said corporate consolidation in agriculture “leads to less competition and choice in the marketplace and higher input costs for family farmers and ranchers”.

“The Bayer-Monsanto combination, coupled with other pending mergers, will consolidate the agricultural inputs market down to just four major players worldwide. It is vitally important that Mr. Delrahim understand what’s at risk for our nation’s family farmers and our food system should these companies be allowed to merge,” Johnson said.

AUDIO: Excerpt from Delrahim’s confirmation hearing comments

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