To the Editor:
The proposed merger between German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer and U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals. A merged company would control a quarter of the world’s seed and agrichemical market. This proposed merger follows two other mega-mergers in the agricultural input market. The Dow-DuPont merger and ChemChina-Syngenta deal both announced in the last year are reshaping an already highly consolidated market.
As giant transnational corporations increase their power over the market, independent farmers are left with fewer options and suffer from less competition between input providers. Farmers have lost access to seed varieties and genetic traits while seeing the prices they pay for biotechnology traits skyrocket.
The Center for Rural Affairs believes in the power of a competitive marketplace and the role of government in guarding against unfair and anticompetitive market practices. Therefore, we’re calling on the Department of Justice to block further mergers between any of the big six (quickly becoming the big four) agrichemical-seed companies. We encourage concerned citizens to stand with us and reach out to the Justice Department and your members of Congress to voice support for action to block further mergers.
Congress should also work to reverse the decades-long decline in investment in plant breeding as they take up a new farm bill in 2017.
The recent merger activity is a clarion call for the Department of Justice and Congress to act to protect a competitive market environment for independent farmers and ranchers.
Brian Depew, Executive Director
Center for Rural Affairs