ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says Justice Department officials will meet later this month with upstate New York farmers and consumers over claims anti-competitive practices are driving down prices paid to dairies at the same time retail milk prices soar.

The meeting with Schumer and the top federal antitrust investigator will be at Genesee Community College in Batavia on March 29.

The public will be able to make statements and share concerns with Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney.

Schumer says the price paid to dairy farmers is the lowest in nearly four decades, while prices paid by consumers are high. That's part of what's forcing dairy farmers out of business.

The meeting announced Tuesday will be the first public forum upstate in an investigation announced in November.

See "Schumer addresses lack of competition in the New York dairy industry."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.