Senate Judiciary Committee must carefully assess Delrahim in light of potential agribusiness mergers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Makan Delrahim, President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division reviews and makes decisions on corporate mergers, and as an Assistant Attorney General Delrahim will be the ultimate decider on the proposed merger of giant agrichemical companies Monsanto Company and Bayer AG.

A coalition of 137 farmer, consumer and environmental groups have raised concerns about the merger, and the growing consolidation of the agricultural sector. A potential merger of Monsanto and Bayer would create the world’s largest agribusiness company, and would have a negative impact on American farmers already struggling with slim profit margins, increase prices for consumers and stifle innovation.

“A merged Monsanto + Bayer will undoubtedly put their corporate profits over small American farms, squeezing farmers and eventually driving up prices for consumers,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Food Futures Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “If mega-corporations are allowed to hold a near monopoly on the industry, innovation from small and organic farmers will be stifled, and the consumers will have little choice.”

“Corporate consolidation in agriculture leads to less competition and choice in the marketplace and higher input costs for family farmers and ranchers,” said Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union. “The Bayer-Monsanto combination, coupled with other pending mergers, will consolidate the agricultural inputs market down to just four major players worldwide. It is vitally important that Mr. Delrahim understand what’s at risk for our nation’s family farmers and our food system should these companies be allowed to merge.”

“The time is now to stand up for consumers and farmers. If this merger goes through, there will be no going back–our food, our farmers, and our consumers will be irreparably injured,” said Anne Isakowitsch, senior campaigner with SumOfUs, a global consumer watchdog. “The government will have placed the future of innovation, of food safety, and of food prices in the hands of a mega-corporation. We urge the Committee to ensure that Mr. Delrahim has the skill and dedication necessary to ensure that competition and innovation remain vibrant in America.”

“Farmers are facing extreme pressure in the market from the low commodity prices they are receiving for their products,” said Mike Weaver, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets. “If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is allowed, not only will they see further pressure from their input costs, but our nation will be turning over access to these inputs to foreign corporations and interests; this should also be considered a national security issue.”

Today the coalition sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging them to carefully consider Delrahim’s nomination to ensure that the proposed merger of Monsanto Company and Bayer AG is fully scrutinized free of unwarranted political interference.

Expert contacts:
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth, (202)-222-0715, [email protected]
Maurice P. Stucke, Konkurrenz Group, 865 235 8861

Communications contacts:
Erin Jensen, Friends of the earth, (202) 222-0722, [email protected]
Angela Huffman, Organization for Competitive Markets, (614) 390-7552, [email protected]

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