On Dec. 11, Dow and DuPont announced an all-stock merger that will create a new $130 billion company called DowDuPont.
The joining of two of the oldest and biggest U.S. chemical producers will draw regulatory scrutiny. But according to a Reuters report, the two companies have agreed to merge but also plan to divide assets soon after into three divisions: agriculture, materials and specialty products. This division could ease the regulatory challenges.
Some national farm leaders met the announcement with quizzically, if not skeptical, eyes, and hoped farmer groups will have the opportunity study and then comment on how such a merger of two large agricultural seed and agrichemical providers might impact U.S. farmers.
Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, said:
“The National Corn Growers Association is committed to protecting the best interests of our members and our nation's corn farmers. With respect to the proposed merger, we anticipate that we will have an opportunity to submit comments regarding the effect this merger may have on agricultural research, innovation, grain marketing, and the competitive pricing of farm inputs. We will do all we can to protect farmer interests and preserve an open and competitive marketplace.”
Richard Wilkins, newly elected president of the American Soybean Association and a Greenwood, Del., farmer, said:
“As always, we welcome competition and innovation to the industry, while keeping the best interests of soybean growers at the forefront,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, Greenwood, Del. “ASA looks forward to the opportunity to provide comments to the companies and U.S. regulatory authorities that must approve any merger, and will continue to study how this merger will affect soybean farmers.”
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch and said:
“Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with. Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage. And it will make it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”