National Farmers Union on Bayer-Monsanto Merger

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) formally approved German drug and chemical giant Bayer’s $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto. The deal, which is the latest in a long string of agribusiness mergers, will consolidate control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market and create the largest seed and crop chemicals company in the world. To obtain approval from the DOJ, the resulting conglomerate agreed to divest a collective $9 billion in assets, all of which will be sold to BASF, the largest global chemical producer.
Corporate consolidation has long been of concern to National Farmers Union. Competition among companies forces those companies to provide better, more innovative products at competitive prices in order to stay in business. In the absence of competition, a company with vast market control – much like the combined Bayer-Monsanto – is able to increase the price farmers pay for inputs, such as seeds, traits, and chemicals. Similarly, such companies have less incentive to innovate through research and development. As a result, farmers and ranchers will likely have fewer and more expensive options when purchasing inputs.
NFU has vocally opposed the possibility of a Bayer-Monsanto unification since the deal was proposed two years ago. Since then, the organization has consistently voiced its objections to the merger, citing its negative consequences for family food producers. When the DOJ announced finalization of the deal, NFU President Roger Johnson reiterated those concerns. “Farmers Union condemns DOJ’s continued rubber-stamping of mergers in the food and agriculture arena,” Johnson said. “We will now focus our efforts on ensuring the promises made by Bayer and Monsanto throughout this approval process are kept. The company must continue to increase the productivity of American family farmers by delivering localized solutions in seed, trait, and crop chemical innovation.”
Reposted with permission from NFU E-News, Issue 374. Published May 31, 2018. Photo Credit: Friends of the Earth
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