USDA Appointee For Fair Markets Pushes Antitrust Agenda

Newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack turned to a leading liberal think tank for his senior adviser on fair and competitive markets, signaling high-level commitment to antitrust issues after consolidation in agribusiness emerged as a key theme in Democratic presidential nominating contests, reported Bloomberg.

Vilsack appointed Andy Green, previously a fellow at the Center for American Progress, for the job, the Agriculture Department stated on Monday, March 1.

Green also has been active in the role of markets in addressing climate change, another USDA priority. He co-authored a memo for the think tank in June urging regulators to require financial institutions to disclose carbon emissions they have financed. 

Prior to joining the think tank, Green had been counsel to Kara Stein, a former commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and an aide to Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. He also was on the Biden administration’s Treasury Department transition team.

Democratic presidential candidates criticized “Big Ag” in early nominating contests, particularly the market power of major meatpacking companies and agricultural suppliers such as seed companies. Biden promised in his campaign platform to strengthen antitrust enforcement in agriculture and to take stronger steps through USDA regulatory agencies to assure fair markets. 

“We must create a more level playing field for small and medium producers and a more balanced, equitable economy for everyone working in food and agriculture, including immigrants and seasonal farmworkers,” Vilsack said in a statement announcing Green’s appointment.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.