Farm Groups Urge Missouri Attorney General to Investigate Bayer, Monsanto Merger

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2017

Media Contact: Angela Huffman, 614-390-7552
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Farm Groups Urge Missouri Attorney General to Investigate Bayer, Monsanto Merger

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley Should Conduct Public Joint Investigation with DOJ

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, farm organizations urged Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to join the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into the proposed $66 billion mega-merger of Bayer AG and Monsanto Co., and to conduct a public joint investigation. The letter, signed by Cultivate KC, Missouri Farmers Union, Missouri’s Food for America, and Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), follows the launch of the European Commission’s in-depth probe of the deal which cites concerns that the merger could reduce competition, resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation. In the U.S., it is expected that a number of state attorneys general will join the DOJ’s investigation, and the groups call on Hawley to join to help increase scrutiny of the deal.

OCM Executive Director and fourth generation Missouri farmer Joe Maxwell explained, “I agree with  U.S. Senator Grassley: these recent agriculture mergers are a tsunami in the market. Farmers are being squeezed in both sides of their business; if we don’t stop the heavy concentration, this tsunami is going to drown farmers in red ink.”

The joint letter points out that there is a very strong antitrust argument that must be made, as these mergers are inherently anti-competitive. The Bayer-Monsanto merger would create the world’s largest integrated pesticide and seed company. With pending mergers of ChemChina and Syngenta, Dow and Dupont, and Bayer and Monsanto, the “Big 6” would be reduced to the “Big 3.” The three resulting corporations would control nearly 70% of the world’s pesticide market, more than 61% of commercial seed sales and 80% of the U.S. corn-seed market.

The letter suggests it will become harder for new companies to enter the market and independent seed companies will suffer when licensing costs increase. Input prices will also rise for farmers, who will have a hard time affording seeds when crop prices are already reaching record lows. Farmers are already being hurt by Monsanto with the strict rules associated with use of the company’s seed traits. The overwhelming majority of the 66 billion-dollar deal is being financed by debt, and the only way this debt can be retired is by slashing R&D, firing employees and by raising prices of seeds and chemicals on the backs of family farmers.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

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