Cooperative Production Limits: A 4-Course Antitrust Meal

Law360, New York (April 5, 2012, 1:27 PM EDT) -- Since 1914, the conduct of agricultural cooperatives has been mostly exempt from antitrust liability. This immunity is found in Section 6 of the Clayton Act, which protects labor unions and farmer-producer cooperatives in the “carrying out th[eir] legitimate objects,”[1] and in the Capper-Volstead Act, which clarifies that such “legitimate objects” include “collectively processing, preparing for market, handling, and marketing” products for members’ “mutual benefit.”[2] Under these statutes, the internal activities of qualifying cooperatives are treated as any other business corporation by antitrust laws.[3]

But since Capper-Volstead’s...
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