Antitrust immunity for negotiations governing price for sale of grass seed
- • supervision by Director of Agriculture
- • rules
- • fees
(1) As used in this section:
(a) "Parties" or "party" means seed producers, seed associations, seed cooperatives or seed dealers that participate in a state regulatory program described in subsection (2) of this section.
(b) "Regulatory program" means a state regulatory program described in subsection (2) of this section that is actively supervised by the Director of Agriculture and that authorizes parties to engage in certain collective bargaining and negotiations to establish the price of perennial ryegrass seed to be produced and sold to perennial ryegrass seed dealers in the future, annual ryegrass seed to be produced and sold to annual ryegrass seed dealers in the future or tall fescue seed to be produced and sold to tall fescue seed dealers in the future.
(2)(a) It is the intent of this section and ORS 646.535 (Unfair trade practices prohibited) (2) and 646.740 (Permitted activities) (10) to displace competition with regulatory programs in the perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed and tall fescue seed industries to a limited degree. The regulatory programs are intended to grant immunity from federal and state antitrust laws to perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed and tall fescue seed producers and perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed and tall fescue seed dealers for the limited purpose of allowing the producers and the dealers to bargain collectively and to arrive at a negotiated price for the sale of seed by the producers to the dealers. The activities of any party that comply with the provisions of this section may not be considered to be in restraint of trade, a conspiracy or combination or any other unlawful activity in violation of any provision of ORS 646.705 (Definitions for ORS 136.617 and 646.705 to 646.805) to 646.826 (Counsel for persons testifying) or federal antitrust laws.
(b) A seed cooperative or seed association for perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed may negotiate with one or more dealers, as defined in ORS 646.515 (Definitions for ORS 646.515 to 646.545), of perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed to establish the price at which members of the cooperative or association will sell perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed to be produced by its members or under the control of its members. The seed dealers may negotiate the price of the seed through a committee that sets forth the views of the dealers and votes on any issues being negotiated as authorized by this section, including the price of the seed.
(c) The Director of Agriculture is authorized to actively supervise the conduct of perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed and tall fescue seed agricultural cooperatives organized under this chapter, representative committees of perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed dealers and any perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed associations in establishing the price of perennial ryegrass seed, annual ryegrass seed or tall fescue seed to be produced and sold to seed dealers at a future date. The director is authorized to supervise the negotiations between the parties, review the prices established by the negotiations and approve the prices proposed by the parties before the prices take effect. The director must approve the proposed prices and any adjustments to previously approved prices before the prices may be implemented.
(d) The director may compel the parties to take whatever action the director considers necessary to:
(A) Ensure that the parties are engaging in conduct that is authorized under this section;
(B) Ensure that the policies of this state are being fulfilled under the regulatory programs; and
(C) Enjoin conduct by any of the parties that is not authorized by the director or conduct that the director finds does not advance the interests of this state in carrying out the regulatory programs.
(e) The Director of Agriculture may adopt rules to carry out the director’s authority under this section.
(f) The director may designate persons as the director deems necessary to carry out the responsibility of actively supervising the conduct of the parties, including serving as intermediaries between prospective parties. Persons designated by the director must be employees of the State Department of Agriculture.
(g) The director by rule shall set and collect fees from the parties who are participants in regulatory programs. The fees shall be deposited in the Department of Agriculture Account established under ORS 561.150 (Department of Agriculture Account).
(h) The director shall supervise the labeling of perennial ryegrass seeds, annual ryegrass seeds and tall fescue seeds to ensure compliance with ORS 633.520 (Labeling agricultural seed or bulk flower seed), 633.531 (Labeling vegetable or flower seed weighing one pound or less) and 633.541 (Labeling vegetable seed weighing more than one pound). [2001 c.142 §4; 2005 c.290 §1]
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