Area farmers are paying very close attention to a proposed merger that could affect prices for chemicals used in the fields. Also nearly 325 organizations have signed a letter pressing new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make sure the Justice Department does its job without political interference when it looks at a proposal to let Dow Chemical and DuPont, Monsanto and Bayer, and Syngenta and ChemChina merge.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food-futures campaigner of Friends of the Earth says they want Congress to provide oversight because President Donald Trump met with the CEOs of Monsanto just before he was inaugurated.
The letter says if all three deals were to close, the newly-created companies would control nearly 70 percent of the world’s pesticide market, more than 60 percent of commercial seed sales, and 80 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market. Trump has said the mergers would create jobs and boost the U.S. economy.
Joe Maxwell, executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, says big mergers are bad for the environment, small farmers, rural communities and consumers. He cites climate change as one reason the nation needs more diversified and competitive development.
Lisa Griffith, interim director of the National Family Farm Coalition, says when these mergers happen, prices go up and some seed varieties disappear.
Groups signing the letter include Environment Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Farmers Union and the Iowa Organic Association.