National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson expressed frustration today with the announcement that Dupont and Dow Chemical announced a definitive agreement to unite their two companies into one, reducing the number of agriculture companies selling seed and crop protection technologies to family farmers from only six to five.
“The federal government has shown its willingness to approve giant acquisitions and mergers that harm competition and the result has been a year of mergers resulting in fewer and fewer choices for family farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The standard against which to measure any merger is whether it will increase competition in the marketplace, and almost certainly this merger will leave us with much less, not more, competition,” he said.
The company that will emerge from this latest merger will be known as DowDupont, and will have so much economic heft in the marketplace that the companies are calling the merger a “game changer,” in a press release distributed today.
Johnson noted that having just five major players remaining in the marketplace would almost certainly increase the pressure for remaining companies to merge, resulting in even less competition, reduced innovation and likely higher costs for farmers. This announcement, combined with the on-again-off-again Monsanto/Syngenta merger, is creating a marketplace where farmers will have very few alternatives for purchasing inputs.
“The federal government unfortunately has sent a clear signal to these companies that any merger idea floated out there will be approved, and that’s exactly what is happening,” said Johnson. “It’s time for federal regulators to remember that bigger isn’t always better and that the economic power of our nation was built on the concept of having many players in the marketplace competing for customers and driving innovation,” he said. “Instead, we have a marketplace where a small number of companies will be able to dictate the terms of the marketplace,” he said.
Learn more about the NFU on its website.