Senate Judiciary Hearing On Consolidation Today

Kelly MarshallAg Group, Agribusiness, ASA, ASTA, NCGA

NCGA-Logo-3The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony pertaining to the consolidation and competition in the seed and agrochemical industry today.  Agriculture groups are weighing in on Capitol Hill to ensure the voices of farmers are heard and the future of the industry is protected.

asaChris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association is testifying on behalf of NCGA and the American Soybean Association.  Combined, the two organizations represent more than 500,000 corn and soybean producers nationwide and have a direct interest in maintaining a competitive marketplace for crop production inputs.  NCGA and ASA submitted a written statement, arguing that competition isn’t just measured by the number of competitors, but also by their size and ability to compete.

“We’ve seen a significant decline in the number of small-to-medium sized family farms. Fewer farmers means that the agribusiness industry that supports the farm community has fewer customers—resulting in consolidation beyond the farm gate. The speed at which the industry continues to consolidate, and the tenuous state of our farm economy, dictate that we work diligently to ensure that our farmers will still have access to a range of technologies without suffering higher costs,” the written testimony states.

asta-logoThe American Seed Trade Association also released a statement in preparation for today’s testimony.

“As the U.S. government reviews the current proposals for mergers and acquisitions in the seed industry, it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to fully review the proposed mergers for potential market impacts and to ensure there will be choice and improved varieties in the future. Seed companies are responsible for bringing improved varieties to growers every year, and they will continue to fulfill that responsibility,” states CEO and President, Andrew W. LaVigne.

“The U.S. seed industry is extremely diverse, both in terms of size and crops covered, with hundreds of regional and independent seed companies doing business across the country, producing seed for all sectors of the industry, including row crops, flowers, vegetables, grasses, forages and turf. They strive to provide variety choice and performance for America’s growers, gardeners and landscape managers to ensure the best seed is available for the market.”