Farm groups react to Bayer, Monsanto merger

Farm groups react to Bayer, Monsanto merger

Ag leaders say they will evaluate the deal to see how it will impact farmers.

Officials familiar with the Bayer-Monsanto merger expected a deal to be reached this week and sure enough, a deal was announced this morning. It’s not a done deal, however, as the merger must be approved by Monsanto shareholders and E.U. and U.S. regulators.

The merger of the two companies would create the world’s largest seed and crop protection company.

Here’s what some farm groups are saying about the merger.

Officials from Bayer and Monsanto have announced a merger agreement, but hurdles remain to bring the two companies together. Farm group leaders will be evaulating the deal to see how it impact their members. (Photo: Fanatic Studio/Thinkstock)

“Market forces led to deals like the one announced today, but we know that major-company mergers have a profound impact on the tools available to farmers and ranchers, sometimes to their detriment.,” said Bob Young, chief economist with American Farm Bureau Federation, in a media statement. “This deal between Monsanto and Bayer comes close on the heels of the proposed Dow-DuPont merger. Farm Bureau believes the Department of Justice should undertake a close review of the overall business climate that has encouraged these combinations, rather than evaluating them in isolation. Consumers must continue to have fair access to the best technologies and innovation.

“Farmers and ranchers, in particular, are interested in how these deals will impact research and development budgets for companies like Bayer and Monsanto," Young said. "We depend on access to enhanced technology, and would hate to see agricultural innovation suffer at the cost of business decisions.”

“With respect to any merger and acquisition affecting soybean farmers, ASA is concerned primarily with how these affect the farm input costs of farmers, as well as how they impact innovation, research and competition in the marketplace, said ASA president Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Delaware, in a media statement.

“ASA intends to closely analyze the potential impacts of this proposed merger on soybean farmers to provide comments to the companies and U.S. regulatory authorities that must approve any acquisition, including the Justice Department," Wilkins said. "ASA will evaluate how the Bayer/Monsanto acquisition would impact research and product development, innovation, offerings to farmers, and competition. If our analysis identifies areas of concern, ASA would urge divestiture of any segments of the proposed merger where competition would be significantly impacted, or disapproval of the merger. “

“Consolidation of this magnitude cannot be the standard for agriculture, nor should we allow it to determine the landscape for our future,” said National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson in a media statement. “The merger between Bayer and Monsanto marks the fifth major deal in agriculture in the last year, preceded by an approval of the Syngenta/ChemChina acquisition and proposed mergers between Dow/DuPont, Potash Corp./Agrium and John Deere/Precision Planting LLC.

“For the last several days our family farm and ranch members have been on Capitol Hill asking Members of Congress to conduct hearings to review the staggering amount of pending merger deals in agriculture today," Johnson said. “We are pleased that next week the Senate Judiciary Committee will be reviewing the alarming trend of consolidation in agriculture that has led to less competition, stifled innovation, higher prices and job loss in rural America. We underscore the importance that all mergers, including this recent Bayer/Monsanto deal, be put under the magnifying glass of the committee and the U.S. Department of Justice.”

“Our primary concern with respect to any merger is how it may affect input costs – particularly given the current farm economy,” said Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in a media statement. “With respect to a previously announced merger, we completed a thorough analysis that informed the comments and information we provided to the U.S. Department of Justice during their investigation into the merger. We would anticipate following a similar path with respect to this merger so that we can truly understand the merger’s impact on agricultural research, innovation, and competitive pricing of farm inputs.”

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