Reaction from agricultural organizations on new of a deal between Bayer and Monsanto on Wednesday expressed some concern about what this trend of consolidation will mean for farmers in the long run.
From Capitol Hill where National Farmers Union members have been meeting this week, NFU President Roger Johnson “condemned” the merger and called for a “critical review” of consolidation in ag.
“Consolidation of this magnitude cannot be the standard for agriculture, nor should we allow it to determine the landscape for our future,” said Johnson. “The merger between Bayer and Monsanto marks the fifth major deal in agriculture in the last year, preceded by an approval of the Syngenta/ChemChina acquisition and proposed mergers between Dow/DuPont, Potash Corp./Agrium and John Deere/Precision Planting LLC….We underscore the importance that all mergers, including this recent Bayer/Monsanto deal, be put under the magnifying glass of the committee and the U.S. Department of Justice.”
American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Bob Young agreed that the deal should be examined closely. “This deal between Monsanto and Bayer comes close on the heels of the proposed Dow-DuPont merger. Farm Bureau believes the Department of Justice should undertake a close review of the overall business climate that has encouraged these combinations, rather than evaluating them in isolation,” said Young. “Farmers and ranchers, in particular, are interested in how these deals will impact research and development budgets for companies like Bayer and Monsanto. We depend on access to enhanced technology, and would hate to see agricultural innovation suffer at the cost of business decisions.”
Both the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association released similar statements saying they planned to study the impact of the merger. “Our primary concern with respect to any merger is how it may affect input costs – particularly given the current farm economy,” said NCGA president Chip Bowling. “With respect to a previously announced merger, we completed a thorough analysis that informed the comments and information we provided to the US Department of Justice during their investigation into the merger. We would anticipate following a similar path with respect to this merger so that we can truly understand the merger’s impact on agricultural research, innovation, and competitive pricing of farm inputs.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing next week on consolidation in agriculture. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, at 10 am Eastern time.