Farm and Food: Big Agbiz’s big ‘price-fixing’ settlements need big fix
By Alan Guebert, Farm and Food File
via The Hawk Eye (IA) - Mar 31, 2021
In a now too-common story in U.S agriculture, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) last month agreed to pay farmers $45 million to settle what the March 13 Wall Street Journal described as “price-fixing allegations leveled at its peanut processing division.”
While $45 million is, indeed, peanuts to ADM — its estimated 2020 revenue will top $65 billion — this isn’t the first time the Chicago-based company has faced market manipulation charges. In the late 1990’s, ADM spent years and millions on criminal and civil price-fixing settlements.
But ADM isn’t the only ag master of the universe to settle recent civil lawsuits over alleged market irregularities. For example:
· In Oct. 2020, Brazilian-owned Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the nation’s second largest poultry processor, agreed to pay $110.5 million to settle U.S. Justice Department allegations of “price fixing in broiler chicken parts,” reported Agriculture.com.
· In mid-Jan. 2021, Tyson Foods, Inc. “reached an agreement in the broiler chicken antitrust civil price fixing litigation brought against the company, as well as many other poultry processors, to pay $221.5 million,” according to Meat+Poultry.com.
· One of those other processors was — again — Pilgrim’s Pride which — again — “agreed to pay $75 million on Jan. 11. Both companies did not admit liability as part of the settlements.”
And while all this lawyerly rock-picking with the chicken giants was occurring in 2020, “The Justice Department… deepen(ed) federal antitrust scrutiny of the $213 billion U.S meat industry, following complaints from farmers and meat buyers about industry pricing practices,” noted the Wall Street Journal last June 5.
Those being scrutinized were the red meat kings: “The Department recently issued civil subpoenas to… JBS USA Holding Inc. [the majority owner of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., of course,] Tyson Foods. Inc., Cargill Inc., and National Beef Packing Co…”
Despite all this new movement on price fixing...
JBS shells out another $20 million for price fixing
via Hanna Herald (ON) - Mar 31, 2021
A federal judge approved a preliminary agreement calling for JBS USA to pay $20 million to consumers who accused the processor of fixing pork prices in a class action lawsuit filed in a federal court in Minnesota.
The company earlier settled with his wholesale and retail customers for $24.5 million.
Judge John R. Tunheim determined that the proposed settlement is “fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interests” of the plaintiffs, who accused JBS and its operating units of fixing pork product prices since 2009...