Capper–Volstead Act

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Capper–Volstead Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act To authorize association of producers of agricultural products.
Enacted bythe 67th United States Congress
Public lawPub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 67–146
Statutes at LargeSess. II, ch. 57, 42 Stat. 388–389
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 2373 by Andrew Volstead (RMN) on ?
  • Committee consideration by ?
  • Passed the House on May 4, 1921 (295-49)
  • Passed the Senate on February 8, 1922 (58-1) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on February 11, 1922 (276-8)
  • Signed into law by President Warren G. Harding on February 18, 1922
United States Supreme Court cases
Case-Swayne Co. v. Sunkist Growers, Inc., 389 U.S. 384 (1967)
National Broiler Marketing Assn. v. U.S, 436 U.S. 816 (1978)

Capper–Volstead Act (P.L. 67-146), the Co-operative Marketing Associations Act (7 U.S.C. 291, 292) was adopted by the United States Congress on February 18, 1922. It gave “associations” of persons producing agricultural products certain exemptions from antitrust laws. It is sometimes called the Magna Carta of cooperatives.[1]


The law was passed in response to challenges made against cooperatives using the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), the Clayton Antitrust Act (15 U.S.C. 12 et seq.), and the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.). As a consequence of the depression of agricultural prices subsequent to World War I, farm organizations intensified their drive for government aid and managed to get a farm bloc established in Congress. Senator Arthur Capper was a member of this bloc and the Capper–Volstead Act was a part of the farm legislative program. (The law carries the names of its sponsors, Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas and Representative Andrew Volstead of Minnesota.)


The act authorized various kinds of agricultural producers to form voluntary co-operative associations for purposes of producing, handling, and marketing farm products. It therefore exempted such associations from the application of the antitrust laws. The United States Secretary of Agriculture was given power, on his own motion, to prevent such associations from achieving and maintaining monopolies. He could hold hearings, determine facts, and issue orders, which were ultimately subject to review by federal district courts.


  1. ^ "The Capper-Volstead Act: Opportunity Today and Tomorrow". Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2008-02-03.

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