NOTE: The launched by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 marked a real moment of hope for farmers and consumers that the Obama administration really did care about the impact on them of industry concentration. See, for instance, the article: Farmers to DOJ -- "Break up Big Ag" in which a Wisconsin farmer comments:
"My parents' 29th wedding anniversary was a farm foreclosure. Their 30th anniversary was a sheriff's auction on the courthouse steps. My neighbor's farm was stolen from him that was owned since 1942 by his family. He came to ask how to get food stamps because he'd always lived off his farm... Washington has got to step up. DOJ is our only lifeboat. They have to fix this. They have to correct it. Monsanto does not have the right to dictate the value of my life, my work, and the food I produce..."
See also the video: Farmers Speak: Bust Up Big Ag
Although nothing of substance has changed, the investigation has now been closed down.
EXTRACT: The highly-publicized [Justice Department/USDA] workshops did not result in any major regulatory changes, and Christine Varney, who was the head of the Justice Department's antitrust enforcement at the time, has since left for the private sector.
U.S. Closes Antitrust Investigation Into Seed Industry, Monsanto
Ian Berry and David Kesmodel
Wall Street Journal, November 16 2012
The U.S. Justice Department has closed a formal antitrust investigation into the U.S. seed industry, which is led by crop biotechnology giant Monsanto Co., without pursuing charges, the government said Friday.
The Department of Justice had first demanded information from Monsanto in January 2010, according to the company. The department had refused to identify the target of its investigation, but made economic concentration in agriculture a focus during the first half of President Barack Obama's first term.
In closing its investigation into "possible anticompetitive practices in the seed industry," the department took into account "marketplace developments that occurred during the pendency of the investigation," a spokeswoman said.
The Justice Department had demanded information about Monsanto's business practices surrounding its Roundup Ready soybean, a ubiquitous product that is genetically modified to withstand application of the herbicide glyphosate.
Monsanto confirmed it received written notification from the Justice Department that it had closed its review of the seed industry and Monsanto's soybean trait licensing practices in particular.
"We're pleased that the Justice Department has closed its inquiry and this issue is now behind us," said David Snively, Monsanto's executive vice president and general counsel.
With Monsanto losing patent protection on its blockbuster Roundup Ready soybean in 2014, rival DuPont Co. DD -0.36% had complained that Monsanto was trying to force seed companies to prematurely switch to the second-generation technology.
DuPont also received a demand for information from the Justice Department, but said it believed the investigation wasn't aimed at its behavior.
The Justice Department, along with the Department of Agriculture, conducted a series of workshops around the country in 2010 examining concentration in the seed, livestock, poultry and dairy markets. The highly-publicized workshops did not result in any major regulatory changes, and Christine Varney, who was the head of the Justice Department's antitrust enforcement at the time, has since left for the private sector.