WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice said last week they will hold their first-ever joint public workshops to explore competition issues affecting the agriculture industry in the 21st century. The first workshop is scheduled for early 2010. "For the first time ever, farmers, ranchers, consumer groups, agribusinesses and the federal government will openly discuss legal and economic issues associated with competition in the agriculture industry," said Christine A. Varney, assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division at the D.O.J.