National Black Farmers Association Protests Monsanto Merger

The President of the National Black Farmers Association sent a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to express antitrust concerns about an upcoming Monsanto merger.

The proposed merger between Monsanto and Delta Pine & Land would create a "virtual monopoly" in the U.S. cotton industry, National Black Farmers Association President John W. Boyd, Jr. claims in a letter to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Delta Pine & Land's shareholders formally approved the merger in December, and the merger is currently pending review by the Department of Justice. Monsanto has said it would divest its Stoneville cottonseed business' U.S. assets in order to satisfy government antitrust concerns.

Boyd claims in his letter that the merger "would create a virtual monopoly on the American cotton industry." The letter makes claims concerning Monsanto's share of the biotechnology used in the seed market and Delta and Pine Land's current market share. Boyd worries that "a merger between the two would easily create fewer choices for black farmers and less competition which would stifle innovation in the industry."

Delta and Pine Land's market share is currently about 50% and Monsanto has publicly stated that technologies from competing companies are of interest in a post-merger environment. The divestiture of Stoneville, and the NextGen seed line, will be "almost immediate" when the Dept. of Justice rules on the merger, according to sources at Monsanto.

The National Black Farmers Association has 66,000 U.S. members.

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