Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2010)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) has filed an amicus curiae brief with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals focusing on the correct interpretation of the Capper-Volstead Act’s protections for farmer cooperatives. The action comes in an antitrust case involving the Eastern Mushroom Marketing Cooperative, the largest mushroom co-op in the U.S.
“Even though this case involves a single co-op marketing a single commodity, the court’s ultimate ruling could have far reaching implications for thousands of farmer co-ops and their owner-members across the country,” said Chuck Conner, president & CEO of NCFC. “Protecting the Capper-Volstead Act—and the ability of farmers to form cooperatives—is at the heart of NCFC’s mission. We hope this brief will guide the court’s interepretation of the Act.”
In its brief, NCFC argues that integrated farmers may be members of a cooperative under the Capper-Volstead Act; that individual farmer members should not automatically be liable for the acts of a cooperative; and that an administrative mistake as to entity listed as the member of a cooperative does not cause the loss of antitrust immunity for a qualified farmer or cooperative.
NCFC previously filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in connection with this matter. NCFC takes no position on the underlying facts of this case, but instead is seeking to address the legal issues regarding interpretation of the Capper-Volstead Act that have significant implications for agricultural cooperatives.
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.