About Reynolds Farm Equipment

Reynolds Farm Equipment has been an authorized John Deere dealer serving central Indiana since 1955. We are an authorized John Deere dealer that markets John Deere Tractors, John Deere Farm Equipment, John Deere Agricultural Equipment, John Deere Commercial Worksite Equipment, John Deere Golf and Turf Equipment, John Deere Lawn and Garden Equipment, John Deere New Parts, John Deere Used Parts, John Deere Tractor Parts, and John Deere Toys. Our blog, John Deere Stuff, will provide you with useful information related to our business in the farming equipment industry.

If you are looking for further John Deere information or products, visit the Reynolds Farm Equipment website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Egg Industry Probe Is Urged

Egg Industry Probe Is UrgedThe Humane Society of the United States petitioned the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the nation's largest egg producers, alleging that their animal-welfare program masked an illegal plan to limit supply and raise egg prices.

Quality-control worker Phyllis Raber checks eggs for impurities as they roll over a bright light at Sauders Egg Processing plant in Winesburg, Ohio.

Egg producers also faced a growing number of lawsuits from customers seeking to recover alleged overcharges. Several of the lawsuits seek class-action status and could bring large damage awards if they prevail.

Egg prices are up 41% in two years, outpacing higher feed and energy costs. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that part of the increase may be due to an industry cartel that arranged a series of large export orders and pressed its members to adopt new cage-size standards. Both efforts had the effect of cutting supply, which led to higher prices.

The industry group, United Egg Producers, has said its actions were proper and fully protected under a 1922 exemption to antitrust law. The Georgia group represents more than 250 U.S. egg farmers.

The Food Crisis

The most significant of the new antitrust suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by a New York restaurant, alleges a longstanding scheme to limit supply in the multibillion-dollar market for fresh eggs and egg products. The suit, which seeks to invalidate United Egg's antitrust exemption, cites internal documents and witnesses, and was brought by Cohen, Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, a Washington, D.C., law firm. The United Egg Producers has said it will defend its exempt status.

A second suit, brought by a Florida bakery and filed in federal court in Minneapolis, focuses on the smaller market for liquid and powdered egg products. An investigation of possible price fixing is under way in the egg-products market, a Justice Department official confirmed earlier this week.

The national Humane Society is engaged in a pitched battle with the egg industry in California, where a proposition on the November ballot would force producers to improve conditions for farm animals. The industry has said that Proposition 2 would be too costly for many farmers, and that it already is taking steps to give caged animals such as hens more room to move.

The Humane Society won an injunction in federal court in San Francisco last week barring an industry marketing group, the American Egg Board, from using U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to attack the proposition in an advertising campaign.

In Washington, U.S. antitrust enforcers declined to comment on the complaints filed this week by the 10-million-member nonprofit group.

By: John Wilke
Wall Street Journal; September 27, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Feds Probe Food Prices

Federal prosecutors are conducting criminal investigations into possible price-fixing by egg producers and California tomato processors, The Wall Street Journal reports. It's the latest in a series of federal probes of alleged price-fixing by farmers and processors.

Rapid increases in food prices have been blamed on the cost of fuel and feed but investigators say collusion may be an equally important factor.

Besides the egg and tomato probes, investigators have been looking into cheese, milk and fertilizer markets, trying to determine if suppliers worked together to manipulate prices. Last year, the Justice Department said it was investigating citrus fruit prices.

Milk prices have been a particularly sore point with many consumers, especially in New York City where shoppers have been paying $4.49 or more for a gallon of milk. Earlier this year, the New York City Council issued a report charging that high milk prices were due to "significantly decreased" oversight of New York State's Milk Price Gouging Law, resulting in citywide milk prices that are above the state-determined legal threshold.

In July, Danielle of New York City complained that she was charged $5.99 for a gallon of milk at the Amish Market on 9th Avenue. Maryellen said she also paid $5.99 at the Broadway Farms Grocery on West 85th St. Kim of Manhasset, Long Island, said she paid $4.19 at a BP station in Levittown.

Cynthia of Brooklyn told ConsumerAffairs.com, also in July, that she sent her son to the Produce and Meat Market on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn to get ready-to-feed infant formula for her newborn baby. On July 23, the formula was $7.99. Two days later, it was $9.99, she said.
Price-fixing illegal

It is illegal for competitors to share pricing information or conspire to drive up prices but there are numerous loopholes, including an exemption for farm cooperatives that's intended to help small farms bargain more effectively with big processors.

Egg and tomato producers are claiming their collaborations are protected by that exemption, the Journal said, but a federal grand jury in Sacramento and the FBI are said to be continuing their probes.

Besides being sold as fresh produce, tomatoes are an important component of many processed foods, including ketchup, pasta sauce and salsa. Tomato growers suffered a setback earlier this year when tomatoes were wrongly blamed for a Salmonella outbreak but prices have since recovered, rising 16% in the year ending in August, according to government statistics.

Egg prices, meanwhile, are up more than 40% in the last year.

Part of the dilemma facing prosecutors is weeding out legitimate influences on prices from the results of illegal collaboration.

Food prices have been affected by the rising price of fuel, for instance, as farmers spend more to heat hen houses and transport animals to market. The growing use of ethanol has driven up the price of corn, a prime component of most animals feeds, to cite just a few examples.

The price of corn has risen almost 50 percent in the last two years, as both the cattle industry and ethanol producers have competed to buy it.

Increased consumer demand also drives up prices. Just as more Chinese are driving cars and increasing demand for gasoline, so are more families in emerging economies beginning to demand more meat, eggs and milk in their diets, putting pressure on prices in the U.S. and other developed nations.

By: Truman Lewis
consumeraffairs.com; September 23, 2008