Ag Policy Blog

Groups Press Senators on DOJ Antitrust Nominee

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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More than 100 groups are using a confirmation hearing Wednesday to draw attention to the mergers in agriculture, especially the merger of Bayer AG and Monsanto Co.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on Makan Delrahim to lead the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. A letter sent Tuesday by 137 groups to leaders of the Judiciary Committee asked lawmakers to press Delrahim "to ensure he will fully and skeptically evaluate the proposed merge, devote all necessary resources to the investigation, and hold the welfare of farmers, consumers, workers, and innovation foremost in his mind as he decides whether to block the merger."

As DTN and others have reported this week, Bayer AG has agreed to sell off its LibertyLink trait and herbicide business as a condition of approval by South African regulators. LibertLink traits and herbicides are used in canola, corn, cotton and soybeans. Bayer stated the company is working with regulators and expects the merge with Monsanto to be approved by the end of the year. https://www.dtnpf.com/…

If the Department of Justice does not move to block the merger then "four companies may control seed and chemical pricing and dictate all innovation in farming," the groups stated in their letter.

"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."

Consolidation leads to less competition and higher input costs for 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 letter and full list of groups involved can be found at http://webiva-downton.s3.amazonaws.com/…

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