Agricultural Cooperatives and the Law: Obsolete Statutes in a Dynamic Economy
38 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2014
Date Written: 2013
Farm cooperatives are important vehicles for the marketing of agricultural production. The Capper-Volstead Act's limited antitrust immunity and the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act's authorization of cartels along with some other equally old statutes still structure much of the marketing process for cooperatives. The results are anti-competitive harms to both farmers and consumers. In addition, despite the very large scale and vast membership of some cooperatives, no state or federal law provides membership governance rights and information disclosure comparable to that imposed on similarly sized corporations. Current judicial interpretation has constrained some of the worst aspects of these statutory schemes, but only a fundamental revision of the legislation can address the full range of current issues.
Keywords: Farm cooperatives, Capper-Volstead Act, Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, Antitrust exemptions, Agricultural commodity market, Governance of cooperatives
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation