DOJ Lawsuit Against Agri Stats is Wrong on the Law and Bad for Consumers
Fort Wayne, Indiana – September 28, 2023 – Agri Stats, Inc. (“Agri Stats”), a benchmarking service for protein producers, has been named as a defendant in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”). The lawsuit threatens serious harm to American consumers of chicken, pork, and turkey because protein producers depend upon Agri Stats’ reports to help them identify opportunities to reduce production costs to keep prices low.
DOJ’s lawsuit alleges—contrary to the law and the facts—that Agri Stats reports result in higher prices and lower protein production. Since its inception in 1985, Agri Stats has played a vital role in the United States economy, helping to drive increased efficiency, improved innovation, and ultimately provide more chicken, pork, and turkey to consumers for less money. Protein production has expanded dramatically, all while prices have plummeted. Just for example, the inflation adjusted price for boneless chicken breast is a third of what it was when Agri Stats started providing benchmarking services to chicken producers, all while production output has tripled. DOJ’s lawsuit turns the antitrust laws on their head and seeks to punish Agri Stats for fostering these consumer benefits.
In fact, DOJ previously recognized that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Agri Stats. DOJ investigated the company for two years over a decade ago, and ultimately closed the investigation in 2012 without taking any action or recommending that Agri Stats make any changes to its business.
Instead of its prior investigation, DOJ appears to be relying upon private class actions that have been filed against Agri Stats and protein producers in the chicken, pork, and turkey industries. One court already has rejected DOJ’s and class action lawyers’ baseless legal theories, ruling on summary judgment—after years of massive discovery—that there simply was no evidence that Agri Stats reports contained data that could be used to fix prices or reduce output.
Agri Stats plans to vigorously defend the DOJ lawsuit just like the company defended the In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation class action lawsuit. The antitrust laws seek to foster competition that benefits consumers in the form of improved efficiency and lower prices—precisely the benefits that Agri Stats’ benchmarking services provide.
Agri Stats appreciates the continued support and trust of our customers and business partners, and looks forward to the day when it can put baseless antitrust allegations in the rear view mirror and focus solely on the hard work of helping protein industries in the United States—that are the envy of the world—continue to thrive.
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