Earlier this week, the Department of Justice reportedly approved a merger between Bayer and Monsanto. The new Bayer-Monsanto behemoth would be the world’s largest vegetable seed company, the largest cottonseed company, the largest manufacturer of herbicides, and largest owner of patents for herbicide-tolerant traits – a major category of GMOs.
Despite public outcry, including those of you who wrote to the DOJ through our Take Action page, and overwhelming farmer opposition to the merger, the DOJ’s decision is not surprising. The CEOs of both Bayer and Monsanto visited President Donald Trump before he took office and boasted that it was a “very productive meeting.” With the DOJ previously approving the Dow-Dupont merger and the Syngenta-ChemChina merger, the Bayer-Monsanto merger – the largest one, valued at over $60 billion – will leave the seed sector at an unprecedented level of concentration.
Already struggling farmers fear another blow to their bottom lines from the anticipated increases in seed prices, to say nothing of the merger’s impact on biodiversity in the fields or the availability of locally adapted seed varieties that farmers desperately need in a time of climate change.
A Dangerous Tipping Point for Family Farmers
During the past 20 years of rapid consolidation in the seed sector, seed prices for major row crops have nearly quadrupled, with no appreciable increase in profits for farmers. Despite assurances from Monsanto and Bayer, most farmers believe this merger will also lead to increased seed prices. In fact, a study by Texas A&M found that it would increase the cost of cottonseed by 20%, corn by 2.3% and soybeans by 1.9%. That is a cost that farmers simply cannot afford, especially in the midst of a crisis where farm profits have been cut in half from their levels in 2013.
On top of an impending trade war with China, immigration restrictions that threaten farmers’ workforce, and an intensifying crisis in the farm economy, this merger is yet another example of the Trump Administration turning its back on American family farmers.
Already, we have lost 100,000 American farms since 2010 and we can’t afford to lose one more. We at Farm Aid are in it for the long haul, so please sign up below to join us as we fight to strengthen antitrust enforcement and bring fairness back to family farmers.
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