Artificial Insemination of Cattle

U.S. dairy farmers and beef producers frequently form cooperatives to purchase and maintain equipment for the artificial insemination of cattle and to hire and train people to be the technicians to perform the insemination. Farmers often believed that some of these technicians were better at their craft than others.

In the 1970s two competitive cooperatives–one based in Minnesota; the other in Wisconsin–were raiding each other’s skilled technicians, and when a technician switched       co-ops, many of the farmers would also switch.

These competitive skirmishes ended up in a lawsuit in Minnesota’s federal court.[1] The Wisconsin co=op sued the Minnesota co-op for alleged antitrust violations and other wrongs. Faegre & Benson was retained to represent the defendant, and I was on the team for the case.

The case, as I recall, settled rather quickly.

Before it settled, I attended a meeting of the employees of the Minnesota co-op. One of them told me about awful things that the Wisconsin co-op’s people were saying about them. He then asked, “Is that defecation of character?” suppressing a laugh, I said I did not think so.

[1] See Post: Minnesota’s Federal Court (June 28, 2011).